Monday, April 27, 2009

Swinish Flu

I happen to have my camera with me this morning when the dog and I went out this morning. It really isn't note worthy to photograph litter but I read recently that several people have turned their blogs into money making publications. One was about how pet owners dress up their pets and how stupid they look and the other was about how dumb white folks are, so maybe a collection of photographs taken by our house is worth zillions.

Has anybody ever considered the true cost of giving out all those free condiments?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Too Old To Be a Pirate

There's lots of news coverage on the pirates and the taking of hostages off the coast of Somalia. Pirates have been making ends meet there for many centuries and I could use some extra spending money. Years ago it would not be that difficult to board a slower ship carrying cargo but the ships of today are huge and the decks are so high from the water below and they are not slow. At the marina where my boat is berthed many sailors and powerboat users fly a pirate's Jolly Roger and I have one to hoist for my grandson's amusement. So with a flag and a boat there could be some gold coins in my future.

Yesterday on my Sunday sail I kept my Jolly Roger below deck as lately the number of law enforcement boats cruising the harbor is staggering. We have the armed Coast Guard inflatables, they have a gunner standing holding on to the bow mounted machine gun as they cruise by. We have the City Life Guard boats, the Harbor Police with flashing lights to lead the cruise ship out to sea and several other law enforcement boats. Yesterday the Long Beach Grand Prix was going on so I sailed over in that direction passing several auto transport ships and cargo ships anchored within the breakwater. There are at lease three auto docking areas and I used to be close to the Nissan loading facility. The ship would come in and a small army of drivers would rush to drive the cars from the ship to the parking lot then load them on trains or auto transports. Then they would rush back the ship across the mighty ocean for another load of shiny new ones. Now the lots sit full of unbought cars and the ship transports are sitting here.

Two interesting things in the pictures of the Star Hardanger are the gangway that raises and lowers. As I was approaching it a shore boat had picked up a passenger and was just being raised and in a later shot you can see it in the elevated position. My days as a pirate don't include any way of getting on a ship of that size. It LOA is 199.9 meters and sits so high. And checkout the lifeboat, it looks like launching it would make a great Disney thrill ride. Any solutions to end this menace of pirates that would be fore coming from my thoughts have all ready been thought of by others and if it is any help to the shipping giants of the world I am too old to be a pirate so they not need lose any sleep worrying about me.

Having viewed countless pirate movies I consider placing a knife in my mouth and diving off my boat and swimming over and scaling the side by climbing a knotted rope but all this ship had was a rusty anchor chain. Or maybe swing over on a loose halyard but my mast is not high enough to get up to the waterline and I not much of a swinger. Maybe the secret is banishing a weapon or a rocket but my armament is limited to an air horn and a package of signal flares. Maybe I need an eye patch and a parrot (I do have two parakeets) to scare my way aboard.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Going Surfing

The effort to add a Beach Boys song to this blog seems more work that paddling out on a big day. My mutant teenage son says that big days are seldom at Doheny and I would agree but we have seen it happen. Yesterday was small but rideable, with sun mixed with cotton clouds, hardly any wind and few in the water considering it is one of the many different spring breaks.
The water temperature is around 55 degrees which according to my math is 23 degrees above freezing but if you go in once or twice a week you get used to it. Yesterday was the first time in a while than the van had passengers that didn't have four legs and three boards were in the back. Occasionally the van has a kayak or couple of boards in the back but the plan was for all three boards to be in the water at the same time so the passengers would need to get wet too. And what made the trip extremely rare was mutant was going to ride something longer than six feet or not his usual sponge but my yellow Weber which is 7'6". His sweetie, which had only tried surfing once in the past, was going to receive instructions and brave putting up with us. Her starter board was not the typical blue foam board that start popping up when the temperatures go up but my 9 foot Stewart which is rather thin and will not float me. I would love to say my instructions were responsible for her getting up and really doing a great job but the credit goes to her. It doesn't happen often that a beginner would catch so many waves. After an hour my son got out of the water and we didn't know what he was up to but he came back to the water edge with my camera to take the pictures you see here.

My mutant teenager know how to use a camera but he never shoots the old man so my surfing pictures are very very rare. Although I have three boards my inventory only included one leash so we scrounged one off of a 6 foot Lost and I went without. My winter booties also were loaned out as the bottom there has little sand but lots of rocks and mutant is used to sand beach bottoms like Salt Creek or T-Street where he sponges.
Surfing and sailing required cooperation from Dame Nature as tides, water depth and wind all change the wave size and shape. Urban water run off from rains and water wasters pollute the water so it is best to stay out after raining. Yesterday the weather forecasts was for afternoon rain but they were wrong and last night there were some sprinkles so surfing today is a iffy matter. There are surf-cams that will allow you a current video stream but until you drive there and see first hand the condition can you go in the water safetly after raining.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Marketing with Jesus

Almost every day we start with a walk with the dog. Along our walk we pick up plastic bottles, cans, and other discards that wind up in the creek and along the bike trail that given enough time this trash would wind up on the beach or in the ocean. This morning there was a sign thrown in the creek. These signs start somewhere as a marketing idea and then wind up as just more unneeded landfill. Someone probably took the sign out of a front yard where it had been placed to market Saddleback Church and then decided to unload it where it did not belong. This church as been using front yard signs for years, promoting various sales efforts to become a mega-mega church and uses a good marketing program with a public relations company to keep up the need to add numbers. And when you go mega-mega would you need a minimum of "23 convenient services at 5 locations over 4 days!" with plenty of parking lots and a broadcast systems integrator TV Magic engineered installation for the best of viewing. And to keep above water (except during baptism) in March of this year 2,400 new church members (the largest membership class in the mega church’s 30-year history) plus another high mark about 800 were baptised in a three and hour period. Years ago in Anaheim, California there was a drive-in church where you could sit outside in your car and watch the services through the large church windows listening to the sermon and music with a drive-in speaker placed in your car. My suggestion would take from that earlier idea and the next time nearly a thousand souls need to be watered down they could use several of the local car washes located in Lake Forest, fill up loads of sinners into large SUVs and drive them through. As most car washes recycle their water this might result in saving water during our present drought here plus give the minister a well deserved break.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Sinking Market

This weekend the weather was warmer, the sky very blue, not too much wind, not too little, plenty of time for varnish to dry, take off the shirt and apply the sun block for a great spring time.

Saturday was filled small work details, spending money at West Marine, then rowing around the marina and taking a look at the new harbor construction. Later some boat hopping, comparing cabins, sharing tales and wine with other sailors. Sunday morning was out to sea for a day sail with an early start dodging power boat owners that don't know what courtesy or no wake zones are.

There are a few boat owners that believe that no wake zones are where you start to slow down from full throttle and the bigger the wake the better. On the way back in the entrance to the breakwater was filled with sailboats coming and going.

Most of the sail was spent tacking towards the island with not a lot of headway accomplishment but after a couple of hours my food supply became not so enticing so I headed back in and a much greater speed that the tack out.

Leaving earlier in the day before the wind kicks in harder allows for a lot effort when single handling and a much easier task of dousing the jib. Another benefit is that all the chores of putting my baby to bed can be done before I get too tried and lazy to do the proper things.

After doing almost everything except a few forgotten items I took a stroll around to look at the for sale signs. With the economy and the real estate bubble breaking boat ownership is more that the normal "just throwing money in a hole called a boat" but a hole that is shark infested. Pretty soon all that glitter that was status isn't and the baby that was loved so much becomes an unwanted child ready for any adoption. Well my baby still has someone that loves her and I probably will visit her sooner than normal as I left my long pants there, my new sweat shirt, a cheese cake and some fitting needed for my other sabot.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The morning usually starts with a cup of coffee, checking surf conditions on-line then the early dog walk. One morning last month on our return leg I saw a parakeet in the middle of the street and before it could be picked up a black GM SUV clipped it. The little fellow was still alive but didn't last long after the trip home. It has been a while since we have had a pet other that the dog, and dogs eat birds unless the bird is large enough to fight back as our pet crow did.

After a month of indecision on rather to buy another bird the decision was made to buy two budgies (as the other English speaking say). My father used to raise birds and my grandparents had a walk in aviary in their backyard, so it must be in the DNA. My grandmother even had a pet crow. For those who have never fallen into the trap of bird ownership, parakeets are small parrots that have flown in Australia for about five million years and are very social animals. They need attention and if their social life starts to lack they begin pulling out their feathers.

Parakeets can learn to talk and once my father described to me how to teach one but never have a successful talker been my reward. Males are more likely to talk than females and a pair would rather talk to each other so getting this pair conversing in English might take a long time. My first addition to their new home was to add listening of classical music on KUSC-FM radio for them.

Parakeets also need lots of sunshine so they have a cage next to the window which is next to my laptop. After googling around about bird voice lessons the discovery was made that talking birds are quite popular on YouTube. When the pair of gaol birds heard their distant cousins singing on YouTube they became highly active and returned each squawk or whistle back with what seemed to be an appropriate response.

My laptop came with camera gadget but not working software and I have no idea if it has a microphone. My hand me down cell phone has a full keyboard but the gaol birds are too young to start texting and they need not fall into the trap of texting every other minute the teenage mutants that reside around here do. So I need to find a social network where they can tweeter away the day and then the thought came to me that maybe I could start a "FaceBird" where they could contact Friends and share cooking hints, baby pictures, vacation plans, and what soap operas they are watching, find other birds that share the same interest, wine list and preference for imported beers and how many shooters of expensive Mexican cactus juice it takes to fall off the perch.
Right now the search for a venture capitalist interested in financing software for developing an aviary interface is my biggest hurdle and that actual work maybe involved has lessened my efforts.
But Rome wasn't built in a day and maybe my FaceBird will be on the Fortune 100 soon and the gaol birds can start to pay rent.