Monday, September 29, 2008

Am I Schizophrenic?

Well I talk to my dog and sometimes I expect her to return my jokes with some form of laughter. Having just spent four days on my boat with my dog and having several conversation with her I am starting to wonder. Where my boat is located in San Pedro there are several adjoining marinas and miles of walkways made for strolling and of course walking the dog. Dog walkers are most regular in their times and routes and those who live on a boat with a dog are often seen several times a day making the rounds ashore. My dog likes getting into the van or car to goes places unless it is to the boat. Like a small child that will not get out of the car when you have arrived at a destination she prefers to sit and wait safely staying a safe distance from the water unless there is a beach to play on and that is a different story. So our diurnal mission would see certain people at certain places. The same two separate souls (not together) sitting have a smoke talking to themselves. They are not asking for a handout or change or kneeling in front of a liquor store they just sit quietly talking (to their invisible companion). That is when the question arose : If I gave them a dog and a leash would that change them from being a paranoid schizophrenic to just another dog nut? Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless, constituting one-third of the approximately 600,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from Department of Health and Human Services).

Schizophrenia is characterized by profound disruption in cognition and emotion, affecting the most fundamental human attributes: language, thought, perception, affect, and sense of self. The array of symptoms, while wide ranging, frequently includes psychotic manifestations, such as hearing internal voices or experiencing other sensations not connected to an obvious source (hallucinations) and assigning unusual significance or meaning to normal events or holding fixed false personal beliefs (delusions). No single symptom is definitive for diagnosis; rather, the diagnosis encompasses a pattern of signs and symptoms, in conjunction with impaired occupational or social functioning (Source: DSM-IV )

Marinas and nice parks close to the beach are often frequented by homeless folks, why not go there, much better than downtown. I have often seen shouters at Pershing Square or Wilshire Blvd. preaching to the sidewalk, damming with clenched bible in hand, talking to god. Bizarre circumstances that cause some to stare and other to walk quickly past telling their children not to look. Give them makeup and a television camera and they preach to millions asking for millions. Let their persecutory delusion torment them into making war, hearing god speaking and the voices of the enemies. You know talking to the dog maybe the better choice.

Beside walking my furry second mate who regards the boat somewhat like those that were pressed by the British Navy and ready to jump at the first landfall I did manage to do some work on the boat, replacing some worn items and catching up with varnishing the bright work. You start at one end and as you finish the other the bright sun has been following you planning your next step. Painting anything with dog hair floating around has to be avoided so only small surface could be worked on and her banished to the van while drying took place. Sunday morning was met with fog that did not want to burn off. So when we headed out the fog hung blocking the view of the harbor entrance and we turned for clear and brighter skies and when north towards Wilmington. One minute you are sailing with a hooded sweatshirt and long pants the next minute shorts and a broad rimmed hat and from 8 knots to 6 to 4 to 2 to becalmed under the bridge. Looks likes the bridge tower is getting ready for October and is dressing as a ghost.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stray Cats

After visiting the Tall Ships in san Pedro, the Port of Los Angeles, we went to visit the beach at White Point I had discovered earlier on a visit to Trader Joes. Earlier in the year I was given direction to TJ from a store in Wilmington and the verbal instructions were some what misleading. The store is located on Western Blvd. in Palos Verde and after leaving there recently I decided to follow Western to the end. Western used to be billed as the longest straight street in the world where is goes from Hollywood towards the ocean in a straight line until it meets the hills of PV where the straight stops. Well Western goes to the Pacific Ocean and if you follow the road around PV you will come to this park and a road down the bluff to parking along the rocks. There is quite a history to this beach but I will leave that for a later blog.

At the tall Ships there was a replica of the Pilgrim that Richard Henry Dana, Jr. sailed on and which he wrote of in his classic Two years Before The Mast. That journey sets out from Boston in 1834, around The Horn and then north to California. W hile visiting up and down the coast of California trading and gathering hides for return to Boston Dana stayed at San Pedro and for a while in San Diego. He enjoyed walking on the beach there and the pack of dogs that roamed about. He even adopted a pup and started to train it. Now if he would return 170 years later he would find not packs of dogs but hundreds of feral cats roaming the beach by San Pedro.

The night we visited there with my grandson not only were there feral cats in attendance but packs of racoons and way too many skunks. The cats, racoons and skunks would comingle like some summer beach party. At my boat in San Pedro many night you will be greeted by racoons fishing off the rocks and walking around the docks looking for food.

When I get caught up on my camera uses in the dark I will add some coons and stinkers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Staying Away from The Computer

Sometimes it is too scary to turn on the computer. The majority of my information comes from the Internet and that is where the problem lies. There is Halloween candy in the stores and even last night was spooky. My night light reading lamp had just been turned on when it went off and the room went dark. I reached behind me to jiggle the bulb and it responded with light then seconds later darkest. The only light in the room was the full moon shining through the blinds and the extinguished street lights left the street very black. The park across the street must be on a different grid as the park remained lit. Folks up and down the street were wandering around with flashlights and I returned inside using my IPhone as a light source while finding some candles and matches. The little wooden matches kept breaking while I was striking them in the dark but finally my candle was ignited and the IPhone stopped serving as a torch. The lights remained out for several hours and the dog must have sensed something was wrong as she ventured into my room very she is not allowed.
My radio stations are mostly turned to jazz or classical and the announcers don't comment much on Alaskan hockey moms. I have never heard a plug for the NRA on KUSC or what Sarah Palin's favorite Mozart is there. KPFK has lots of news but finding agreement with Amy Goodwin could get you arrested. Actually finding someone on my block here in the depths of large pickup trucks and SUV's that could tell you what Pacifica Radio is would be one hell of a shock. Our house does not have cable or satellite anymore and the bandwidth provided my an ancient antenna on the brick chimney seems to select a frequency occupied by a Spanish speaking station or one of those countless court show. Actually I did listen to some of the Democratic Convention on the radio while driving back from my boat but passed on the Republican Convention speaking a week later. It is a little confusion to me that God could get one of his hurricanes scheduled at the same time the GOP was getting ready to endorse his platform. Would it not be easier to give the hurricanes biblical names in the first place. The Democrats kept shouting "No more Bush" or some similar slogan while later the Republicans promised a change from The Bush Doctrine to the Palin's version of it whatever that is. Introducing her as veep became an early Halloween for us scary freaks. Halloween right after Labor Day is GOP Marketing at its best. Not hearing her acceptance speech but reading the reviews brings out the significant changes the GOP plans. For example the selection of George W. former speech writer as Palin's new writers denotes change. Matthew Scully inclusion of Westbrook Pegler may pass as a heartland quote but Scully left out Pegler regards for Robert Kennedy which might give better insight to Pegler's hate. Scully can't be 100 percent bad as he did author The Dominion a book that defends animals from corporate greed. This makes for strange bed fellows as doesn't the Veep to Be allow the hunting of wolfs from helicopters or personally hunting moose from the saddle of a quad. The picture of her sitting on a couch that is draped with a former Alaskan bear now only a skin conversing with Scully about the corporate evils of whale blubber does seem a possibility. A future episode of the X-Files starting Palin and Scully. Now that is scary.

Had a great time entering my boat in the F.E.A.R. Regatta at our marina (Holiday Harbor). Usually my sailing is single handed but I was able to recruit a young couple to help me with the race (they will not do that again).
Sailboat ownership does often result in a problem in recruiting crew members to actually go sailing (it is easier to get good news from the IRS than a return call from family members when sailing is mentioned). After the sailing there was a great gathering of sailors to enjoy the food, beverage and conversation and the retelling of close calls, starboard tacks and man-over-board (actually men over board). The start was at one O'clock close to Long Beach then tacking back west then out into the Pacific past the light house then downwind to a marker then back to Hurricane Gulch. No shortage of wind and whitecaps, large ships to dodge, barges, and a least a few container ships arriving or departing. Imagine the Indy 500 with a few railroad crossing, bridge openings, school buses and rain to perk up the drivers.

After taking the boat out the captain always replies on his vast crew to swab, flake, and stow. Since my second mate, the dog refuses to sail not alone trying racing, the boat sat and waited until Sunday morning before being returned ship shape. Morning are always better to fold and stow sails as the afternoon winds, even in the slip, can make sail handling a real pain in the ass. The majority of sailboats that are on my dock have furling equipment with myself as an exception. Much is too be said about the ease of self-furling but what would I do with all those bags of sails?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Work Detail

Had my boat rigging worked on last week. The boots on the spreaders were replaced and I really didn't figure on climbing the mast myself.

The sail cover was removed and completely resewn and the preventers were replaced.
The fiddle block for the main was replaced and a new sheet was installed.

My kayak is usually stored on the deck or on the larboard side next to the lifelines.

We have been searching for a sabot to use as a dingy and for sailing in the marina. While shopping at the surplus store I found a complete sabot for $795.00. The prices seem to vary greatly on the items used. On Craig's list I found two complete boats with sails, mast, rudder and for $600.00. Picking them up in one trip was an adventure with one inside the back of my Nissan and the other on top. This was accomplished on the Friday before Labor day weekend and the traffic in Marina del Rey was as expected, impossible. The trip down PCH to San Pedro took a little less than a slow boat to China would have taken.

Both sabots had already had oarlocks installed so it makes a great rowboat if you know how to row. After a little parts swapping from the two sabots I was able to make one ready for sail and sailing it is a total blast if your are limber enough to move your butt around.

One important items that is required in the operation of these small boats is an extra pair of shorts after your get them wet. Saturday I didn't have any and had to fly my board shorts on the halywards to completely dry them. One of the sabots will stay with the Ericson and the other was moved to the driveway for sanding and painting.
My little 3.5 horsepower outboard can also be hung on the transom for those who care not to row.