Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome aboard the Seatard

Well, we still haven't officially named the boat, but for a week now it's been referred to as the Seatard, and I'm worried it's going to stick. I Googled Seatard, and it actually came up in UrbanDictionary.com as being slang for a manatee. Of course, I then had to jokingly Photoshop together a Seatard logo with a dopey-looking manatee as the S. Everyone loved it. I think we may be stuck with Seatard.

Personally, I was hoping for Sea Horse as that was kind of what the boat was telling me after this past couple months on the water. It's slow, it likes to buck, and it makes my ass hurt after sitting on it for more than an hour. But how can something as mundane as the Sea Horse compare to Seatard?

The past couple weeks the Seatard has been living up to its moniker. Two weekends ago we had anchored out to swim and we found the motor wouldn't restart. I thought it was out of diesel as several trips had been taken without topping up the tank. We ended up sailing all the way back through the Kemah channel, Clear Lake and into our marina. Unfortunately, the wind didn't really pick up until we hit the marina, and although I dropped the sails as we were making the turn into our slip, I couldn't get us slowed down enough to avoid hitting the pier. Luckily, there was no damage to the boat or the pier, but I ended up going overboard in my attempt to make it onto the dock with a line. My flip flops floated up after the incident, but my prescription sunglasses were lost to Neptune.

After putting a couple gallons of diesel in the tank, we thought all was well, and the boat motored out to the bay with no problems this weekend, but when I attempted to add another five gallons, the tank overflowed. Therefore, we had not been out of gas the weekend before.

We were sailing with a friend to Redfish Island, the longest trip we've made to date. Although we had about a quarter mile head start on him, he passed us with his 34' Ketch and was quickly disappearing into the horizon. I thought maybe I could motor-sail for a bit to catch up, but the motor started sputtering. I shut it back off.

My friend thought perhaps the diesel was sucking air, so while anchored at Redfish I tightened the hose clamps on all the fuel hoses. Hopefully that was the issue. After sitting at Redfish an extra two hours while we let a thunderstorm pass through, there was absolutely no wind. The motor ran well all the way back to the marina.

Hopefully that solves the motor issues, but it was also pointed out to me that my mainsail was rigged completely wrong. I have an entire list of things to remedy in my rigging this weekend. Supposedly fixing my reef points and outhaul should speed up the boat a bit.

Then there's the dampness. My opening portholes are installed at an angle where the bottom sill collects water, which eventually get so high that it leaks in through the hinges at the top of the opening port. This leaves the floor of the head damp and slippery all the time. It also keeps the inside of the boat smelly and moldy. It looks like vents are on the must-purchase list.

The last somewhat sad realization regarding the Seatard is that because it's such a light boat, it bucks around like crazy in the surf. I have yet to experience seasickness but everyone else seems to be suffering miserably after about half an hour, especially Nikki who becomes reduced to a green heap in the cockpit. I either need to find a remedy that works better than ginger snaps and dramamine or I'm going to have to find new friends if I ever want to make it all the way down to Galveston.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Swimming against the tide

It was a good holiday weekend. I entertained on the boat Friday and Saturday. Then Sunday we went sailing and had to take out skills to the next level when we ran out of diesel in the middle of the bay. I sailed all the way back in through the channel and Clear Lake in the middle of heavy boat traffic. Unfortunately, docking under sail was a bit of a problem, but there were no fatalities, and the boat is ok. I'll tell the whole story later, but I'm back in training this week and trying to squeeze in both my regular work duties as well as my class homework before and after class. I'm thinking it would have been smart just to set up a cot in my office instead of going home every night.

I just have to get through the presentations and testing tomorrow to finish this course. Hopefully, my normal updates should return next week.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The weekend is almost here. It's got me in a much better mood because despite the rain, I'm scooping up the dog after work and heading for the boat. I also need to get some dogfood because she ran out Wednesday. All she's had to eat the past two days were bowls full of dog treats. I'm sure she didn't mind, but that can't be healthy.

Perhaps it's finally the weekend I'll watch movies in the boat in the rain. Hopefully not. Hopefully we'll be sailing, but it doesn't matter as long as I'm on the boat.

I'm trying to decide if I'm going to attempt to cook on the boat. As I still have some sanding to do, probably not. Hopefully soon, though.

I made it out to Fountainhead for open mic last night for the first time in months and months. It wasn't too bad. The band locked in pretty well on the classic rock. Then I attempted a couple originals. They pretty much murdered the chord changes. Nobody in the crowd seemed to care too much. It made it a rough morning, though. There's a reason I never stay out on weeknights anymore.

I've managed to completely piss off two different Internet forums this week. Some yuptard in the Leica X1 forum started yet another thread asking if the accessory handgrip was necessary. The handgrip does NOTHING. It has no functionality at all. It's just a $125 piece of plastic to screw on the camera to create a lip on the edge of the body. I posted that -- although perhaps not so politely. All the other poseurs jumped on me about how everyone has different hands and maybe his hands needed the grip, blah, blah, blah. I wrote back that they were all assuming I had hands when in reality I operated the Leica X1 with hooks after a photography accident involving great whites. Then I went off about how they should all stop typing pages full of bullshit about how to accessorize their cameras and go shoot some damn photos. I don't think I'm welcome back there.

Then I wandered over to Cryptomundo.com where they were examining some new "bigfoot" footage someone spied in the background of a fishing video. I immediately recognized the "bigfoot" as a fisherman in khaki clothes and a baseball cap walking up the shore to a friend standing on a beached boat.

Half the forum said, ohhhhh, you're right. The other half chased me out for destroying their bigfoot footage. I'm not sure I'm welcome back there, either.

On the upside, I will now have less distractions at work.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Still this?

Somebody at work was asking about Lebowski Fest, so I was searching for some photos of the the one I attended in Austin in 2006. Then as I was having a pleasant trip down memory lane, I came across her.

It's been at least three years, yet it's still a kick in the chest. Within 30 seconds I was on the verge of tears in my office. I don't know if I was more depressed over her or over the fact that those emotions are still in me.

I've been trying to shake it off all afternoon. The woman is married and gone. I shouldn't be thinking about her EVER. I deleted the damn photo, so at least that one won't get me again.

I spent the rest of the afternoon seeking humor. Humor will have to do until I can seek a drink.

Damn, I miss her.

On with my life.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fatty fatty moo moo

I feel like a royal fatass. Last week during training, we had breakfast, brunch, lunch, and an afternoon snack catered in to class every day. I also had two dinners out accompanied with way too much alcohol. Then I ate terrible all weekend, gorging myself with burgers and pizza rolls. Monday was supposed to be my return to civility and moderation, but after a Healthy Choice meal for lunch, I was starving when I made it to the grocery store Monday night. This resulted in me eating an entire pizza for dinner as well as half a bag of fun-size Kit Kats. However, I did struggle through 20 minutes on the elliptical afterward -- the first 20 minutes of exercise in about three weeks.

Tuesday didn't go any better. I was running late and forgot my lunch. I attempted to hit a pizza buffet in an effort to devour yet another entire pizza or two, but when I got there, the entire shopping center had been razed since my last visit. Yes, it was completely gone. There was nothing but a grated field at the site where I had gluttonized so many times before. That SHOULD have been a sign that perhaps I should find something healthy for lunch. I promptly ignored that sign and downed a double Quarter Pounder, fries and two apple pies. Then dinner was at Taste of Texas with filet mignon, shrimp and creme brulee.

So yes, I feel fat today. I had my Healthy Choice for lunch and spent the afternoon feeling as if I was starving. I will officially hate myself if I do not work out tonight.

In the meantime, my boat rage has subsided. Ben and I decided to invest $150 in a 6500 BTU window unit air conditioner. It should actually cool the entire boat instead of just the v-berth and won't further jeopardize the electrical system. My brain has been working overtime on ways to build clever enclosures for it. However, for now we're just going to set it in the companionway. The clever enclosure can be a winter project. I'm going to pick up the AC unit tomorrow and head down Friday night to install the tachometer, troubleshoot the electrical and HOPEFULLY finish my woodwork. I can have a relaxing weekend of productivity.

Along with the boat work, one of my friends from high school I haven't seen in at least 15 years may come sail with us. That should be fun.

On the downside of the week, Apple is driving me crazy. My iPhone got updated to iOS 4.0.2 on Sunday, which un-jailbroke it. That means I lost tethering ability, so I can't connect the Netbook at the boat anymore. Eventually the hackers will catch up and update their software, but today Apple announced the iOS 4.1 update, so that's going to put the hackers even further behind. However, it doesn't matter too much except for posting blogs as now there are Hulu and Netflix Apps on the iPhone, so we can watch movies directly off our phones instead of having to use the computer. Not that I've EVER watched a movie while on the boat, but I keep imagining some rainy scenario when I'd be stuck inside during a storm with nothing to do. It hasn't actually happened yet.

Another irritating thing Apple has decided was a good idea is to release a new version of iTunes that features built-in social networking. Does anyone really need yet another social network? At this point I'm still updating Facebook, barely remember to tweet, totally forgot about Google Buzz and need to get around to deleting my myspace account. For the record, I think iTunes Ping is STUPID!

One other interesting thing happened today. A co-worker showed up in my office. He was having trouble with his Porsche and turned to searching online for help. Apparently my YouTube videos helped him out and when he finally put two and two together that I was the person making the videos, he came up to thank me. That made me feel pretty good.