Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Much To Do, So Little Time

I am going west once more to the beautiful mountains of Colorado this Memorial Day weekend. I will be driving, again, perhaps with a friend depending on whether or not his work stops pulling his chain and makes up his mind about sending him to Dublin. I've been feeling an urge to drive and this opportunity came up to see more of Colorado so there you go. I call it my Sin Tour 2009 for reasons either you know or you don't. ;)

In preparing for Sin Tour 2009 I have decided straightening up my house so when I return I won't be overwhelmed would be a good idea. I always thought it was stupid growing up that mom would make us clean up before we left. Now I totally understand it. So I went around with the trash can throwing a ton of crap away. I have all these little piles of stuff that need to be relocated now, including a ton of crap that goes to storage. That'll open up all kinds of space if I get my ass in gear and load up the Jeep.

The next thing I need to do is get the leaks on the deck of the sailboat fixed so it doesn't get all yucky inside from rain and sitting in the sun all closed up for two weeks. I have two of six fixed so far. I just finished fabricating fixes for two more and I'm just waiting for the wood sealant to dry. The final two are just a matter of pulling the old sealant out from the porthole and squirting some new stuff in there. A task for tomorrow or Thursday. Then I can let her sit for two weeks without worrying about it. Doesn't look like I will have time to sail it this week though, which makes me sad.

Finally, once again I am playing the 'will Ryan get paid in time' game. Three invoices out of six in the ether, will any of them get paid before I leave? I really need to do something about this cycle. It is probably the only real point of stress I have going on right now.

Ok, enough with dicking around. Back to work!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adventures In Sailing! - Night Sailing, Rescues, and Elbow Braces

Ever since I have gotten my engine back I have done as much sailing as possible. This usually involves getting at least one other person and a nice day. With all the rain over the past month I haven't gone as much as I would have liked but I have done quite a bit. One thing I have been doing quite a bit lately is sailing in the evening. I really enjoy it. The temperature is even (no sun to be hidden behind the clouds) and it just seems very peaceful. Plus, the DC skyline is nice at night. One thing that I learned pretty quick is that other boats sneak up on you fast at night since their lights blend into the skyline. And for whatever reason there seems to be more traffic from the big boats at night.

If you have spent any real time boating you have probably been part of a rescue at one point or another. One of the Federal boating rules is that you must render aide to a stranded vessel as long as rendering such aide will not endanger yourself. From my time with my speed boat and this sailboat I have been the rescuer twice and the rescuee once. My first rescue was in the back bay area south of Ocean City on my speed boat. It was a swamped canoe that we brought aboard with the two canoers and drove them to shore. Having 9 people plus a canoe on a 19' boat was a little crowded, to say the least. My time being the rescuee involved the lower unit of my speed boat grenading while coming home from messing around in the lower part of the Chesapeake. Had to get a two to shore from a passerby and they hire a tow boat to take me to the other shore since the one we were towed to didn't have a public ramp.

This brings me to a recent adventure, being the rescuer on a sailboat. Normally it is sail boats being rescued speed boats, but in this case it went the other way around. We were sailing in the Potomac and I heard a horn toot twice and some yelling. Honestly, I tried to ignore it because they were close to shore and we were having so much fun sailing. But they honked again and then I saw them trying to paddle. I wasn't able to pretend they weren't in trouble anymore so we dropped the sails and puttered on over. The keel promptly got stuck before we reached them so it had to be cranked all the way up. We hooked a tow line up to them and then my little 8 hp outboard spent the next hour dragging them the two miles or so slowly up the Potomac to the public ramp they needed to make it to. In hindsight, it is probably good it happened since we decided to head in afterwards. The temperature fell like a brick that night when it became dark and it made for some chilly motoring home. If we had stayed out later like we were talking about doing it would have been miserable going back in.

I took the Mom and the Brother out on Sunday for Mother's Day. We spent a good 8 hours out on the water, probably 6 1/2 of them under sail which makes for the longest continuous sailing day I've had so far. The winds became pretty gusty from time to time and we heeled over quite a bit. Mom's eyes about popped out of her head when that would happen and she kept saying 'Ryan, fix it!'. I let her know that as long as the first word out of my mouth isn't a cuss there is nothing to worry about. All in all it was a very enjoyable day.

Finally, elbow braces. My elbows have really started to hurt pretty bad on some days after a long or particularly rough sail. I finally made it to the chiropractor who told me my elbows were inflamed and it was basically the equivalent of Tennis Elbow. She said it is something the body eventually gets used to but I should wear a brace until it does. So I picked up two Ace elbow braces and they have been added to my sailing equipment. Hopefully my body figures this stuff out sooner than later.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Ideological Animal

Came across this article that talks about the psychological factors that contribute to a person's chosen ideology (liberal or conservative) and the way in which fear is utilized in the manipulation of that ideology.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Star Trek!

When I first heard they were doing a new Star Trek film that was going to focus on the original characters (Kirk, Spock, etc) and explore how they met and such, I didn't think much of it. The Star Trek films, in my opinion, had been falling behind the times and pretty constrained by the universe that had been established by the various tv shows. Anything they did that touched on the early stuff would be very constrained.

However, when I learned that JJ Abrams was behind it I started to look forward to the movie. Abrams is behind both the LOST and Alias TV shows of which I am a fan of both. His unique talent is in being able to take an existing storyline and just reinvent it every couple of seasons. He has been somehow able to just turns these shows on their head and go in a completely new and unexpected direction all while staying true to the major story arc. With the movie Cloverfield he did the same thing to monster films like Godzilla. So the question for wasn't if Star Trek would be enjoyable or not, but how was he going to reinvent it and would it work?

Well, not to go into plot and give away details, but this sure as hell is your daddy's Star Trek. I was worried they were going to wuss out at the end but they didn't. It looks like they have relaunched the Star Trek franchise in a way that will probably satisfy a good chunk of the Trekkies while making it enjoyable for a new generation of fans that don't care much for the old stuff.

This movie totally stands on its own. I sincerely hope they can keep the cast together and crank out some more stuff. The movie certainly sets it up to be able to explore a lot of stuff that I thought would have been out-of-limits originally.

Anyway, all of that is to say this. Don't think of this as a 'Star Trek' film if you don't like Star Trek. If you like action/adventure stuff you'll enjoy this. Fast paced, enjoyable plot, special effects are up there, wasn't much for the music but that is a personal thing. If you do like 'Star Trek' films and know the back story to the original series (with Pike and such) you'll probably enjoy this too. Just don't expect a traditional Trek film. This is a new beast and baby, I likey.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stream of Concisounness!!

So.

It is 1 am. I have returned from hanging out on a friends deck with some other peeps and drinking some wine. I am listening to a song that helped me through a difficult part of my life right now (posted at the end of this) and I have decided to just babble and see where it goes. Haven't done this in a while. Buckle your seat belts.

I let old Ryan show some today. I'm not proud about it. I took out some frustration (ok, a lot of frustration) over this fricken boat on a friend. Yea, it was through text messages but I was still being a dick. I also probably wasn't the most enjoyable person to be around for a bit today. So sick and tired of these delays. I'm sure you all have been here but I felt like everything was lining up against me. I mean how else can you explain a left turn light that doesn't function so people had to run it which caused this big traffic delay when I was trying to make it to a wine vertical I've only been talking about for over a year? Stupid construction and the weirdest places too plus a cop that rather than letting the six cars turn right instead decides to let the main traffic go again. Granted, he corrected and let us go but man that didn't help my mood. And really. I've been talking about this damn event for OVER A YEAR!! And I was an hour late. Ok, sure, it was awesome and the wine was great and I ended up buying a case of this normally $50/bottle wine for $200. Hard to beat that. And so good!

Oy, new paragraph. Anyway, I said all that to say this: why is that when your (and I am generalizing here) mood sucks it seems like everything is against you? There is a line from a Rush song that goes something like 'The way you feel changes how you view the world' that comes to mind a lot and I think it is right on. Perception is something I've talked/bitched/discussed about on here and in person and I really think it is key to almost everything. 'Reality' is shit. NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming) is a psychological practice that came about in the 70's. The more I read/observe/learn about it the more I think it is right on. It deals a lot with perception and 'mental maps' that people create to interpret the world. Understanding that people are coming from a different background/culture/world than you can explain a lot in how differences in opinion can come about. One of my favorite tenants of NLP is that 'the meaning of the message is in how it is received, not how it is sent'. Basically, the whole 'but I meant' this is crap...it doesn't matter what you said...it is totally in how the other person took it. This doesn't mean you have to responsible for how they take stuff or their shit, but it helpful to understand this when misinterpretantions come up. It doesn't do any good to try to convince someone you meant something else. It works a lot better to try a different angle.

Damn I want to go sailing. It's been something like two months now. The deck looks awesome...at least compared to what it was. Much cleaner and whiter. Hopefully tomorrow. I just want the peace of being propelled with nothing but silence. I need it.

So when I was in college I went through a very difficult time. I had failed out (I blame DOOM and a computer lab in a parking deck) and I didn't know what I was going to do. I was still living on campus at the time. Actually, this was the second time I failed out. The first time I fixed on my own and went into 'academic probation'. How ominous. But I failed out AGAIN while on this probation. Looking back I think the hardest moment was telling my dad I failed out of college. For some reason my dad being disappointed in my was (still is, really) the worst thing that could happen to me. After talking to him and my step-mom I remember taking a walk to a park near where they lived and crying quite a bit. I remember resolving to come out of this better and more focused. It was during this period in my life that I came across a song.

Have you ever been in a place in your life where a single song really helps you through? It can be uplifting or depressing. Happy or sad. Doesn't matter. It just talks to you at that point in your life and just fricken helps. I've had a few moments like that in my life but I've always remembered this one. I remember being alone at my mom's with this song cranked up loud as hell and singing my heart out...tears and everything. Did it help? Not in the way I thought. I managed to fail out the very next semester and just gave up on college for the time begin (I've sense started going back). My life went if a VERY different direction but looking back I have few regrets. I think for where I was when I was I just wasn't able to appreciate college. Not like I can now. How amazing it is that perspective can change so much over the years. Totally and utterly fascinating.

Anyway, I'm not so running out of steam as much as I think the number of people that actually make this far are going to be few and far between. Is that me being realistic or just beating myself up? Don't know. Probably both. Funny that.

The song I mentioned was 'Someone Else' from Queensryche. The video can be seen here and the lyrics are posted below. I want to highlight one specific part for you all:


Standing here at the crossroad's edge
Looking down at what I used to be
A drowning man, trying to stay afloat
Heavy with the past, but somehow keeping hope
That there's something more that is seen
But it's somewhere out of reach


I think this sums up that summer and some periods in my life since. Knowing that there is more but not being able to reach it. The 'heavy with the past' part DEFINITELY describes some days for me recently. But that could be another posting like 30x as long as this one, so lets not go there now.

Anyway, full lyrics follow. For those of you that made it this far (this is me beating myself up again), I appreciate it.

Enjoy:


When I fell from grace I never realized
How deep the flood was around me
A man whose life was toil was like a kettle left to boil
And the water left these scars on me

The chains I wore were mine, dragging me towards my fate
Planned for me long ago

I played by all their rules, went to their right schools

Who was I to question?

They used to say I was nowhere man
Heading down was my destiny
But yesterday I swear that was
Someone Else not me

Here I stand at the crossroad's edge
Afraid to reach out for eternity
One step when I look down
I see someone else, not me

I know now who I am, if only for awhile
I recognize the changes
I feel like I did, before the magic wore thin
And the baptism of stains began

Sacrifice, they always say... is a sign of nobility
But where does one draw the line in the face of injury?
I'm just trying to understand

Standing here at the crossroad's edge
Looking down at what I used to be
A drowning man, trying to stay afloat
Heavy with the past, but somehow keeping hope
That there's something more that is seen
But it's somewhere out of reach

So I keep looking back
Looking back and I see someone else

All my life they said I was going down
But I'm still standing stronger proud

And today I know, there's so much more I can be
I think I finally understand

From where I stand at the crossroad's edge
There's a path leading out to sea
And from somewhere deep in my mind
Sirens sing out loud, songs of doubt, as only they know how
But one glance back reminds and I see
Someone Else, not me.

I keep looking back at Someone Else... me?

What Has Ryan Learned Lately

This is what I have learned over the past couple of days:

1) No matter how passionate you may be about politics, you can still be good friends with the other side.

2) When your mechanic looks at you and asks you if you would like him to go ahead and change the part out - even though you may have waited six weeks and feel frugal and prideful and regardless of how easy you think it'll be or he implies it'll be - suck it up and let him do it.

3) Despite the best laid plans, lightning trumps everything. Deal with it.

4) Some wine and some friendship can fix a lot of problems.

Thanks my peeps. I haven't been this frustrated in a long time and tonight really helped.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Still Alive

Haven't updated in a while. I've just been treading water the past few weeks, not moving forward or back. That ended a couple of days ago, finally.

I updated my iFreelance profile and started pounding Craig's List for new contracts. I'm down to one and need to get a safety net going. You can check out my profile if you like at Lucidosity. Yes that is the name I am doing business under now. Hopefully I'll be able to eventually turn up some additional work.

I am picking up the boat engine today! Yay! Last week I spent Thursday, Saturday and Sunday working on the boat. I figure I put in 20 solid hours actually on the boat cleaning and fixing. Had some help from C on Sunday, thanks! The teak has all been installed with only two mishaps. I managed to split one board because I screwed the screw in too deep. And apparently I misplaced two screws because the standard sized ones that are used everywhere else popped through on the other side of the teak. Other than that, its all nice and pretty now. The decks have been cleaned as much as they are going to get without breaking out power tools. I'm going to see what waxing some of the surfaces looks like. I found two leaks in the deck that I need to fix this weekend then I move on to the interior.

At some point I WILL GO SAILING, dang it all. Probably not until next week though.

This weekend I have a Nebillio vertical tasting at Breaux on Saturday (mmmm) and the Reston Wine Festival on Sunday (mmmmm). Sunday night, I sleep. :)

So there you go. An update in a nutshell.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Umm, Wow.



I want me a border collie, damn it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ryan's Personal Philosophy

Someone else coined the phrase. I dish out advice, whether it is good or not is up to debate I suppose. I guess it is part of my ever evolving personal philosophy that I like to spread around because it works for me. Your mileage may vary.

In any case, this is just stuff I picked up along the way or came to on my own that fits my experiences and helps me make sense of things. Or if not sense, at least accept and move on. I figured I'd share it. Someone called them Ryanisms once and I think I like that. I'm sure I missed some. Everything is subject to change, this is just what I believe right now.


1) Labels get in the way.
I think it is easy to get too tied up in trying to label situations or issues instead of focusing on understanding them and just accepting them. Who cares if you have low self-esteem or if it is self-doubt, understand that is who you are right now and then learn how to embrace it and adapt. Getting caught up in identifying the proper label may serve a purpose at first but it starts to become counter-productive. This is particularly true when trying to label relationships between people. That shit is just complicated.


2) Know where your shit ends and someone else's begins.
Everyone reacts to things differently for a variety of reasons. There are things that you are going to react to in a way that is out-of-proportion to the actual event because of past hurts and experiences you have had. As a result, conversations can get heated for reasons that aren't apparent. Knowing where your shit ends - for example, not taking responsibility for someone over-reacting - can make a huge difference.


3) How your internal dialog talks to you makes a big difference in self-esteem.
Self talk is hugely important to self-esteem. If you make a mistake and then berate yourself for it in your inner dialog - saying things like 'You idiot' or 'That was stupid' - all you are doing is beating yourself down. What is the point of doing that? It was a mistake, who cares. Give yourself a break. It is all about the positive thinking. Changing your perspective.


4) Everyone was a beginner at some point.
How many times have you walked into a situation, particularly a learning situation or where you were new to something, and felt totally out-of-place or like everyone was staring at you? Just remember, all of those people were beginners at some point too.


5) Let things happen when they are ready to happen.
I believe that things happen smoothly when they are ready to happen. Forcing events doesn't usually end well. For example, this post. I've had it rolling around in my head for sometime but it didn't feel right to post it until now. Gut feelings can hold wisdom.


6) Perception is everything OR You are your experiences.
This one can be discussed a lot but basically you are what you perceive. I'm not sure I can really explain this in a short paragraph, but I'll give it a shot. If two people experience the exact same event at the same time, what they take from it - their perception of it - is going to be different based on past experiences. Their interpretation of the event is filtered through who they are. Who they are is based on life experiences and genetics (which gets into nature vs nurture, let us table that for now). Anyway, I say all that to say this: your reality is an interpretation of what happens to you. This comes in in trying to understand politics and such and the art of managing perceptions.


Okey dokey, this is going a little long. I'm not sure I did a good job explaining some of this stuff so please, hit me with some questions or challenge me on some of this stuff. It helps me clarify my own thoughts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Chica Chica, A Chica Chica, A Chica Chica Ow!

It's Business Time! Love this song:



Favorite line: "You know when I`m down to just my socks it`s time for business that`s why they call it business socks."

Come Sail Away

I was going to post this in response to a comment in my Outboard Engine post I posted earlier today, but the last half of it was so funny I decided it needed its own post.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Cartman:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adventures in Sailing! - Outboard Update

Talked to the boat engine guy today. He put together an estimate that comes to about $400 (parts, labor, etc) to fix the prop shaft, replace the prop and do some other things that are in dire need of fixing on the lower unit. The rest of the engine is in good shape so once this is done it should be good to go for awhile.

$400 was about what I thought it would come to and was prepared to pay, so that is good. The other thing is DAMN is that cheaper than repairs on my old 150 hp. This would have easily run $2500 or so. I heart little engines.

On the downish-side, it'll take about two weeks or so. Thankfully this is all happening at the start of the season so I'm not going to miss out too much. Assuming I get paid and get my finances fixed, this would also be a prime time to pull the boat out so I can work on the hull. Whether or not that happens will greatly depend on the cash flow. It isn't critical and can wait until the fall or even next season, so no big deal either way.

So, in a nutshell, hopefully sailing can recommence in two weeks or so!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Constitutional Arguments on AIG Bonus Tax

This one will be nice and dry.

The House passed, and it looks like the Senate will or has (too lazy to look it up right now) a bill that will tax bonuses to employees of companies that took bailout money at 90%. Basically, between that and the tax bracket the bonus will be voided. Obviously the motivator for this is the AIG bonuses, but it applies to any company that takes bailout money.

There are various arguments about the unconstitutionality of such an act by Congress. Not having any sort of legal background, I have no insight into how valid these arguments are; however, I did come across this today from someone that does have a law background. The comments, particularly about the 5th one in or so (the start of a thread of comments) are pretty helpful.

It seems that the constitutional question comes down to whether or not this is a tax or a punishment. If it is a tax, it seems that the various arguments wouldn't apply ("Bills of attainder" and "ex post facto"). However, if it is a punishment it would be a problem.

That said - assuming I understand the arguments - since this is aimed at income and not property, and because it is being attached as a condition to government aide (in the same way non-profits have to deal with retroactive rules), this doesn't fall outside of the constitution.

Either way, it is probably heading to the courts. Whether or not it is helpful financially to do this, I still maintain that Congress has to do something to satisfy the people and this is along the right lines. It is all about perception and right now the perception is these guys are on the wrong side of it.

Young For A Gamer

And here I was, thinking I would have been on the older end of gaming. But no, in 2006 the ESA (trade organization in the U.S. for the game industry) released a report saying that the average age of gamers in the US is 33. Well, apparently they upped it to 35 in 2008. Granted, I was 31 in 2006 so anyway you slice it, I'm on the young side.

That just floors me.

2006 article: here
2008 article: here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Unemployment Party, USA!

Came across this nifty map. Or sad map, I suppose.

Turns out, the country I currently live has one of the lowest national unemployment rates at 4.3%. The country I grew up in is close to 10%. There is, what, a 60 miles difference? Wild.

How is your country holding up?

Friday, March 20, 2009

AIG

I haven't really posted anything about AIG but I just came across something else, on top of the bonuses, that blows my mind. Regardless of how legal it is, these people need to buy a public relations clue and lay low for a while. All they are doing is forcing congress to act in ways they probably wouldn't have cared to before. Congress has to at least appear to be punishing them because AIG keeps doing shit that is enraging the public. Its no wonder they ended up where they did if this is the kind of genius thinking that went into running the company. These people are totally clueless.

What I am talking about is that AIG is suing the US Government for $306 million. Like I said, regardless of the merits of the case what the hell are these people thinking? How do you think it is going to play? On the face of it is just seems like more greed and the whole 'masters of the universe' the 'rules don't apply to me' attitude. They need to shut their mouth, take their medicine, and stop forcing peoples hands.

With that said, I'm glad they are forcing the hand of Congress to do something. The sooner they nationalize AIG, fire the idiots, restructure and sell it back in a form that isn't 'too big the fail' the better.

Anyway, the suing article is here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Things Bumming Ryan Out

This was almost a 'stream of consciousness' post last night, but I decided not to. Instead, I present a list of things that are bumming me out.

1) Outboard engines

2) Fucking AIG. What is wrong with these people? Bonuses to the idiots that killed the company in the first place? Are they fucking insane? Poster boy of asshole elites.

3) Women.

4) Dead beat contracts. I have $20 until I get paid. I haven't been paid in two months. There are three invoices outstanding. I wish I was exaggerating. Man, I need to stick to my financial plans a little closer I think. My old 'just make more money' plan apparently has some flaws.

5) BSG ending. Ok, this isn't really bumming me out that much. But they squeezed way too much content into the last season and kinda screwed the pooch.

6) Continued ignoring of insolvent banks and just pretending it is a liquidity problem. Its not going to get better until we nationalize them, restructure them, then sell them off. Just wasting money on asshole elites like the AIG fuckers until we do it.

7) Upside down mortgage.

8) Friends that require me to do all the reaching out and 'friend maintenance'. Screw that. Tired of it.

9) Control.

10) The need to come up with 10 items on a numbered list. Don't know what that is all about but there it is.

Carry on.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get It On

Get It On

Make sure you see the three outtakes at the end.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Death By Hyperthermia

I don't know that any description I could write would give this article justice. Here is the tag line:


Forgetting a child in the back seat of a hot, parked car is a horrifying, inexcusable mistake. But is it a crime?


Thoughts?

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Never Drown"

"Never Drown" - Days of The New (only video I could find was of a dude playing a game with the song playing)


I am the dirt, the dust, the stain, the rust that's on your fingers
You're here to get inside the place
To hide the fear that lingers
If we never drown, we never know how well it tastes

So tell me how it tastes and I know just how well you drown
Keep in all the things that make you fall
Together we'll stand tall
In the end, the choice will face us all

Together we'll fall, so don't let go
We release the chains that cause you pain
That keeps your spirit locked down

If we never drown the walls we found
Would never be our lesson?
The end is near the demon's jaw
The lives we swallow

In the end the choice will face us all

Together we'll fall, so don't let go
Maybe it's the way...
But I'm not looking forward to running away

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Adventures in Sailing! - Stupid Outboard

Well,

I took the boat out last Thursday. The weather was nice but there was no wind save for about 40 minutes. We decided to motor on over to Alexandria for lunch and to check out how they are setup when it isn't super crowded. After radioing the dock master for a slip (and waking him in the process) I brought the boat around and eased it into the slip nice and slow. At the last moment I kicked the engine in reverse to stop us. Reverse didn't happen. So we slowly bumped the dock. At the time I didn't realized reverse didn't work and had just thought I came in too fast since reverse on this engine has always been shit. It wasn't until we tried to leave that I realized reverse is toast.

Once again I pulled the engine and took it home. I set it up on the engine stand I made last time and started poking around. It was then that I noticed that a part called the propeller shaft housing was cracked all the way through. I removed the bolts and pulled the assembly out. The assembly is basically the entire gear case but instead of oil coming out it was water. That explained why there was a bunch of oil in the water!

Either water freezing cracked the housing (unlikely since I didn't see the oil until after reverse didn't work) or it was weakened and when I tossed it into reverse it cracked from the torque. Either way, bad deal.

I found this website call Just Answers that lets you ask a question to the experts and pay them for an answer. I asked what to look for and about the cracked housing question, plus that I noticed some play in the shaft itself. Long story short, it might be the housing. Hard to tell for sure but everything else looks just fine.

So now I have a problem. I can order a new part to replace the broken part pretty cheaply. However, I don't know for sure that it'll fix the problem AND one of the stupid bolts broke and I'm having a heck of time getting it out. The second option is taking it to a repair place. Problem there is I have to find one local and my experience with them is that they take FOREVER. The third option is to just buy a new lower unit all together. This is certainly more expensive but in the 6 weeks I've owned the boat that is where I've had the problems. That is also where I had all the issues in my power boat. Finally, I found a few people selling newer used engines that would just be about $400 more than the cost of the lower unit.

In any case, the boat is out-of-commission until I get the engine running again. Oh well. At least it'll give me time to finish the teak and cleaning.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Tea Bag the Dems!

I’m thinking someone should take a look at the Urban Dictionary before making a sign next time.

And actually, while I’m at it here is an oldie but goodie:

get_a_brain_morans

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Average Income and Poverty

I babbled about this in the fall and asked people what they thought the average income was per person in conversation. What I found then, and I was surprised as well, is that we (our social/economic circles) tend to overestimate what the average or median income is in America. This was back during the campaign when Obamarama was talking about giving a tax cut to those families making under $250,000.

I tossed up some links as proof but I came across this recently and wanted to share it.

In a nutshell, the median HOUSEHOLD income in America in 2007 was $50,233. Now, I don't know about you but to me that is not a lot for a household. For a median individual I would think that would be ok but a fair amount of households are dual earners and for it to be that low? Wow.

Poverty level, as a point of comparison, breaks down for a "family of four in 2007 was $21,203; for a family of three, $16,530; for a family of two, $13,540; and for unrelated individuals, $10,590.".

I'll be interested to see what the median household income is in 2009.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Idiocracy

Well now, this is a scary thought.

Curious...

...about what you all think of this post.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What Keeps Ryan Up At Night - Chairs!

Ok, this came to be last night or the night before, don't recall which...but I was thinking: "Sci Fi has a lot of creatures that walk and talk like people but have weird parts, like tails." Right? That is true.

However, look at the chairs on these shows! How the hell does something with a tail sit in a chair! And what if you have three butt cheeks? Or no butt at all! It isn't going to be real comfortable. That is butt discrimination right there, people!

Sci Fi writers need to think of this stuff. If I was a lizard-person and I had a tail, you better believe I'd want to sit every once in a while!

And no, I wasn't smoking/drinking/injecting/etc anything. These are the things that come to me late at night.

And yes, I get blank looks a lot. I am ok with this.

Poetry!

Going through a bunch of mail I meant to read but forgot to, came across this.

I like.

How Many 'F's?

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE
SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTI
FIC STUDY COMBINED WITH
THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS...



How many F's do you count?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Smarts!

For class I had to find and take an intelligence test. I usually do the assignment and post before I read any of the discussion so I am not swayed but what other people say. As it turns out, I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had read what others did. I ended up taking a 109 question test that took me a solid two hours to do while it seemed like most others were taking the tiny tests.

In any case, after forking out the $7 for the details results I found it totally worth it. It broke the measurements down into several areas. The Logical, Verbal and Analogy areas are where I scored the highest. The Arithmetic and and Numerical sections are where I flopped. The biggest surprise was a section titled Puzzles. The description follows:


By taking clues and putting them in order, it is usually possible to deduce a plausible answer by understanding the relationships between the items and eliminating certain options. This skill is very handy for detectives, journalists and even office managers. This skill involves seeing the “big picture” but also understanding the details and how they fit together.


This is where I scored the highest by 15 points.

Maybe I should start reading mystery novels.

Oh, if you want to take the test here is the link.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Testy Test

Ignore me

Pompus Punks

More Krugmans please:


Not to rant too much, but this is why I can't watch cable news. The pompus attitude of these guys just amazes me. These chuckleheads have no idea what the hell they are talking about but they are trying to come across like they do. I love Krugman laughing at Scarborough, that was awesome. And for that dork to put himself up as a 'model fiscal conservative' and to say there was no grid lock in the 90's but it was just a separation of powers??? Jesus.

And Buchanan, BUCHANAN? How the hell is this guy still on TV?

Liberal media bias my ass.

Banks and Insolvency

I was reading some stuff online, avoiding my homework, and came across a post and some comments that really helped to explain to me what the big dealio going on right now is all about. I'll try to sum up my understanding and then throw the link to the article and point out some comments if you want to know more.

The short simple explanation is that banks lent money to people for some amount plus interest then turned around and borrowed money from other institutions for the same base plus a smaller amount and so on. In this way the banks were 'over-leveraged'.

From a commenter on the original post, an example of what leveraging looks like:

The scenario goes like this:

I lend you my last $100 in exchange for a $10 payment at the end of the year and an IOU.

Based on that IOU for $110 payable at the end of the year. To cover my expenses until you pay me back, I borrow another lender's last $90 promise to pay back $95 at the end of the year.

That lender then to cover their expenses, borrows $80 and promises to pay back $82 at the end of the year.

So, based on initial loan of $100, $287 is floating around. A ratio of 2.87 to 1

Now let's say you lose your job, declare bankruptcy and won't be able to repay. I've lost my expected $110. And because I can't repay, the guy I borrowed from lost his expected $95. And because he can't repay, the gal he borrowed from lost her expected $82.

There are estimates that that some banks were leveraged at a ratio of $30 (money they borrowed for every $1 dollar in assets (money they lent)


You can see how these numbers start to add up in a very big way very quickly. Remember, this is all on paper as well under something called 'mark to market'. I believe 'mark to market' means that a bank declares the worth of an asset based on what they believe the market will pay for it, not what will actually be paid.

An example:


So games are played with accounting rules about mark to market, so they can continue claiming the assets are worth more, like your neighbor who bought a house in 2006 for $800,000 which, through comps, is now worth $500,000. Said neighbor still telling self and others that the house is still worth $800,000.


This is all fine and dandy as long as those original loans can be paid back and the originator bank can pay back their loans and on down the leveraged chain. The problem starts when large amounts of loans start to default, then the banks can't pay back their lenders, etc and everything goes down the drain.

So did the mortgage crisis cause this? No, it just exposed it. It seems to me that the actual cause was the over-leveraged nature of the loans and the lack of regulation preventing real valuation of assets, rather than the 'mark to market' fantasy.

Now, here is the real scary part and where the insolvency comes in. For a long time people were calling this a liquidity problem, implying that money was locked up between banks and we just needed to inject more in to get it flowing again. That assumed that the bank assets were actually still in the positive. What is becoming apparent is that these banks are totally insolvent. In other words, if they had to actually sell their assets right now at what someone might actually pay for them, they would be in the red very quickly. So these banks don't want to sell because they would go out of business. Instead, they hold on to it and hope things will turn around and make their assets worth what they claim they are worth.

To put another way, if you were a bank and your mortgage were all your assets, what would you do if you owed more than you could sell your house for like 1 in 4 American's are right now (myself included)? You'd sit on it and hope that things turn around if you could, right? That is what I'm doing and by the looks of things, it going to be a much longer wait than I hoped. :(

The sooner these banks are forced to declare how much the assets are actually worth the sooner we can deal with the damage. Until that happens it is just going to be games with accounting rules and money thrown at a problem (liquidity) that doesn't actually exist.

Here is the article that I was referring to...the comments are very informative.

From a Concerned Colonial Citizen

For certain BSG fans...Enjoy.

Small Government!

Sign me up!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Adventures in Sailing!

The past week has had me on the boat quite a bit.  Three times I have attempted to actually sail, only two of which were successful.  Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon and evening on the boat, including a nice long nap to test it out.  It is actually more spacious in the bow than I thought, which is good.

Anyway, a little log (with some pictures!) of those three sailing attempts.

The first one represents the first day I put the engine on the boat.  This was Sunday, Feb 1st.  The weather was nice that day, if you recall and the winds were perfect (15 knots or so).  I was concerned about two things primarily regarding the engine: 1) whether it would start from being in storage all winter and 2) whether the gas was any good.  I’ll spare you the details of trying to find a new gas tank for the old engine and just say I added fuel to it.  Anyway, I put the engine on its mount (crushing my hand in the process, yay) and fired it up.  The thing started on the first pull.  That never happens for me as outboard engines all hate me.  I was quite pleased so I let the thing run while we rigged the boat for sailing.

We got the main sail on and the jib hanked and were ready to roll.  After discussing how we were going to pull out I kicked the engine into reverse and we started to pull out of the slip.  Now, it is important to understand how this slip is situated.  My boat is on the last slip with the shore about 40 feet behind it.  About 12 feet in front of the shore is a line that is there to keep you from stranding yourself.  That leaves about 28 feet or so to run a 25 foot boat up stream.  Normally this isn’t that big of a deal but I had two things working against me.  First, the wind was blowing along the broad side of the boat, so as soon as the lines were freed the boat started to slide towards the other boats.  And second, the damn engine cut out when we were halfway out of the slip.  Damn it.

So while Lisa vainly tried to push us away from the other boats I was getting the engine started again.  The thing was pretty hot, hotter than it should have been.  Apparently it had overheated.  Fantastic.  After a lot of manhandling and getting the engine started for brief moments we were able to maneuver the boat into someone else’s slip about four down from my own, downwind of course.  The prospect of trying to walk the boat back up the dock in the wind wasn’t very appealing.

I spent the next hour or so dicking around with the engine.  Now, as you all know, outboard engines are cooled by sucking in water from the bottom of the engine via a water pump, circulating it through the cylinder head, and then ‘peeing’ it out a little hole.  Typically you look to make sure the engine is peeing before you let it run.  This is something I always did on my speedboat but managed to not do on this one.  Well, it wasn’t peeing, thus something was preventing it from sucking up the water and cooling itself off.

With the cover off of the engine and using it very sparingly after it had cooled off we were able to get the boat back into the correct slip.  We raised the sails to check them out since I hadn’t actually looked at them yet, then struck them, bagged them, and cleaned up.  Lisa mentioned that we managed to do all the hard parts of sailing (setting and striking sails, leaving and returning to a mooring) but none of the fun stuff (actually sailing). 

I took the engine home to fix because I was sure I knew what the problem was.  You see, the same thing happened to my big ass 150 hp Merc that put my speedboat out of commission.  Namely, I started the thing out-of-the-water like a total moron.  The problem with that is in how the water pumps work.  They are nothing more than an impeller (a litte propeller enclosed in metal) that spin.  They aren’t the most robust pieces of equipment and they intend to shatter into a million little pieces when no water is coming through.  So when I started the thing without putting it in the water I blew up the impeller.  The engine didn’t get any water ergo it overheated.  Luckily, the little 1987 Nissan 8 hp is more like a lawnmower engine than the car engine my 150 was like and instead of totally melting and turning into a gigantic paper weight it just shut off.  Nothing melted or fused together. 

I brought it home and stuck it on a big piece of cardboard in my living room since I was too sore and tired to take it into the basement.  I performed surgery the next day after I found schematics online for the various parts of the engine.  The impeller had indeed grenaded so I ordered a new one, put the thing back together, rigged a test harness in the backyard, hooked up a hose and there she peed!  Just like a race horse. 

I’ll talk about the sailing this past weekend in a later post since this novel has gone on long enough.  Suffice to say, the engine worked most of the weekend although it did cut out at a less-than-ideal time on Saturday.

Anyway, pictures!

Crappy picture of the engine in pieces:

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Crappy picture of the engine with its anti-cat cover on:

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Really tiny picture (wtf?) of the engine on its testing harness behind the house hooked up and ready to go:

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Engine peeing like a racehorse!

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Sailing picture from Saturday:

IMAGE_148

Classical Conditioning

So we just covered classical and operant conditioning in my Psych class and I thought I’d leave you all with part of my paper on the classical-side.  Classical conditioning is the idea that you can condition someone to associate a stimulus with a behavior it isn’t naturally associated with.  For example, when your mouth waters because you smell a cake cooking.  Your mouth watering is because it was conditioned to after you associated eating the cake with the smell.

Operant conditioning is the action/consequence way of learning.

Anyway, the paper babbles about unconditioned and conditioned stimulus and responses, etc but its the content that I thought you’d all be interested in.  It certainly isn’t my best written paper.  I think I talked about it long ago in my blog but this puts it pretty succulently.

Needless to say, this was the thing that got me into therapy in the late 90’s and I have since more or less gotten over it.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

When I was a child I used to be taken to an eye doctor by my mom in a city about 30 miles away from where I grew up. During this trip we would always pass a rest stop on the highway. Anxiety from not being able to get out of going to the doctor – from being out of my control – would be very intense for me on the trip. When I would get anxious I would need to use the bathroom; the origin of which is beyond this example. Usually we were running late and would not have time to stop at the rest stop on the way. I would put my head down and try to pretend the rest stop was not there because I had no control over whether we stopped or not. What happened as this situation repeated itself was that I began to associate being trapped or not in control with the need to go to the bathroom. Eventually, I associated being trapped or not in control (the conditioned stimulus) with having to go to the bathroom (the conditioned response).

This response faded over time (extinction) once I stopped having to go to the eye doctor and was able to leave a particular situation when I wanted to. Years later I went to New York City for New Year's and was put into a situation that induced spontaneous recovery of the associated behavior. I arrived with my friends four hours early and were confined to an area that I could not leave until after New Year's had come and gone. Once I realized I was basically trapped for four hours or so the need to go to the bathroom became overwhelming which in turn led to anxiety bordering on a panic attack.

Similar events in my life have played out on this association that are an example of generalization. For example, at the height of this problem I was unable to be in any situation that would prevent me from having total control. Lines at the grocery store, roller coasters, being the passenger in someone's car would all cause an intense need to use the bathroom.

Being stuck in traffic is an example of discrimination. If I was the one driving I didn't have any problems. If I was in the passenger seat and we hit traffic the association would be very powerful.

Two Graphs

In case you weren’t worried enough about the unemployment numbers, I present two graphs.

The first, the recession historically since 1948 compared to other recessions:

recessionHistoric

The second, the same graph but as whole numbers of jobs, not a relative percentage:

recessionRecent

Either way you slice it, yikes.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Anyone Want To Go Sailing?

With help, on Thursday Jan 29th I was able to officially purchase the 1983 Catalina 25 I mentioned in a previous post.  I spent most of the day on it Sunday before the Uber Bowl and let me tell you, I am very sore.  But it was awesome.  Like the water rat says in ‘The Wind in the Willows’: “There is nothing- absolutely nothing- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

The boat was used mostly for racing and as such the the rigging is in great shape.  It came with a 2004 main sail, the original Jib, and a 150 and 170 genoas, both purchased recently.  Also conveyed with the slip paid through March and some electronics.  Plus a bunch of crap I have no idea what its for yet. 

The little 8 hp outboard already overheated so now I have a project.  I need to take the water pump apart and see in the impeller is toast.  I’m thinking it is.  Same thing that happened to my 150 Mercury on my speed boat, damn it all.  At least the engine didn’t melt.  And let me tell you, the adventure yesterday was nuts.  Trying to get the thing of the slip and the engine kept crapping out, wind blowing us into not good areas…good times.  Turns out, we did all the hard parts of sailing with none of the fun parts yesterday.  Docked/undocked, raised and struck the sails, etc but no actual sailing.

Anyway, some pictures:

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IMAGE_110

IMAGE_111

IMAGE_113

IMAGE_121

It looks like a day sail would be comfortable for up to 6 peeps or so.  One or possibly two nights would be cool for 4, particularly if we docked in a slip somewhere.  Anything longer than that and people are going to have to get along well, but I fully plan on doing it.

I have a huge project list for it.  But there are several things I expect to do over the next couple of months that won’t be too costly to get the interior into shape for cruising.  Not much needs to be done on the rigging.  The exterior needs some cleaning as well.

Good times!

Pictures!

I’m procrastinating on a paper that was due yesterday so here are some pictures.

People streaming in to the Obamarama concert on Jan 18th:

IMAGE_087

My view:

IMAGE_091

Crowd behind us…went quite a ways past the monument:

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Crowd to the right:

IMAGE_090

The sardine can we were in after the show:

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Good show.  Crazy crowd.  Lots of fun.

Next!  My cat sleeping on me.  This is pretty typical:

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Here is a fire at a friend’s house from a couple of weeks ago:

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Some artwork at Clyde’s Bon Voyage party:

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A Star Destroyer made out of Legos at Fabbioli’s:

IMAGE_104

A sneak peek:

IMAGE_121

An finally, see!

obama_chill

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sleep!

Here is an interesting article on sleep. Some neat stuff in there and some ideas for how to get better sleep.

And then there is this sleep test. I was a 'rocketing rabbit' when I took it.

The discussion topic this week in my Pysch course is on sleep. Since I don't have any sort of set schedule I've been messing around with it to see what works for me. What I found that works best, as immpractical as it would be for most people, is to just sleep when I'm tired and wake up when I wake up. This has me taking naps in the middle of the day and going to sleep late. Lately I've been hitting the hay around 3ish and getting up about 10ish with a nap in the evening. I find I am more energized and happier this way.

What works for you?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Interesting

This is an interesting personality test. The first three questions are the important one, the 4th one is blah.

How did it work for you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not Something You See Everyday

Ha Ha

Just heard a stand-up comic say this, thought it was funny:


Saying "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." That's like saying "People don't take pictures, pictures take pictures or Toasters don't toast toast, toast toasts toast."


Ha ha.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Administration

This is a good, relatively short, pictorial of the people that make up the Obama Administration. Check it out if you want to see who will be calling the shots. I think his chief counsel looks like Doctor Who, the one everyone liked from the old series.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cruise Log - Monday 10/6/08

Awoke at 7:50 am. Long way to go today. The septic tank is full. Need to find a pump out and diesel fuel.

Took two hours to find pump out and diesel. Marina was mislabeled on map. Ran aground briefly. Pump out was done by attendent. Turned out to have only needed 12 1/2 gallons of fuel.

Sailed for a couple of hours averaging about 7 kts. Had to turn on engine because of winds out of north preventing us from making good time north. Only 4 hours left and 30ish nm to go.

Arrived two hours late. Late fee will be assessed. Oh well, it was worth it.

Under Power: 6 hours
Sailed: 2 hours

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

There ends the log. The speed readings were affect by current so our actual speed was probably 2 knots or so less than it read. The entire trip was fantastic. Can't wait to go again.

Oh, just saw that Mere had written down what we had to eat on most days. So here you go, how we ate like kings and queens thanks to Mere:

Tuesday: Cheese and Salami
tilapia cocunut red curry w/ guchien

Wednesday: egg, bacon toast
scallops with cider butter sage sauce, pasta, zuchini, almonds
pesto feta tomato pita pizza

Thursday: granola with blueberries, avacado toast
sandwiches with avacado sprouts
ashore: crab cakes

Saturday: eggs and hotdogs, avacado toast
steak, rosemary potatoes, corn (trailmix and grapes)
ratatouille, baked garlic

Sunday: eggs and salami, avacado taost, ratatouille
mac and cheese with tuna (stawberries and cheese)
muchjadasiah

Monday: No one remembers

Future ideas: jumbalya, red beans and rice, fettucini and olives, chillie, stew, beef and rice with pine nuts, brocolli marinara, pesto salad, stir fry

Ok, I butchered some of the words. Oy.

Cruise Log - Sunday 10/5/08

Left much later than planned. Worried we won't make the island today. Almost hit another sailboat. Too busy playing with chat plotter. Other dude didn't see us until we were on him because we were hidden by his mainsail. He blasted the alert signal and we were able to turn just in time. 'Pleasantries' were exchanged and we continued on our way.

Made it to the party island after motoring for 7 hours and traveling some 40 nm. The island itself has a beach but a chain surrounds the entire island. It reminded me of LOST. Some good pics were taken.

Early start tomorrow. Worried about gas level since gauge is either broken or very optimistic.

Stayed up late listening to Chick Corea jass and reading tarot cards. Maybe there is something to this.

Under Power: 7 hours
Sailed: 0 hours :(

Cruise Log - Saturday 10/4/08

Went to bed late, woke up early with a bit of a hangover. Heading to Oxford today.

Sailed maybe an hour before having to strike sails and motor. Attempted to sail one more time just outside of Choptank Bay, no good. Motored into Oxford.

Got over fear of VHF radio and contacted Mears Yacht Haven for a transient slip. Going in bow first was pretty easy. Decided to come out and back in. Boat does not turn quickly in revers because of 3-fin feather prop. Managed to get us in w/o major incident.

Had dinner with Dad and Kim. Very yummy. Showed Dad the rigging and stuff. He nodded alot and was a good sport.

Sat up and drank a bit after they left and then hit the hay.

Under Power: 4.5 hours
Sailed: 2 hours

Cruise Log - Friday 10/3/06

Sun woke me up. Hung the hammock. Cleaned up 2nd anchor and dingy stuff. Ready to get underway for Harbor Point marina and a hot shower. Feel a cold coming on.

Biked into town from Solomon Yacthmans Marina where we rented a slip for the night. Hit Solomons Island Winery and then Food Lion for some additional supplies. Heading into town on foot for crabs and entertainment shortly.

Crabs were awesome. Mere had a crappy $75 psychic reading while C and I tossed rocks at a manhole cover. Went back to boat to put on warm clothed and then head to Solomons Pier.

Had too much to drink. Mudslides. Cold riding home. Feeling crappy. Great conversation with C though. Now I need to rough this out.

Brief rest on hammock fixed the sickness. Good wine. Good conversation. Feel good.

Cruise Log - Thursday 10/2/08

Rough water. Made 9.4 kts. Reefed main & genoa. Would have liked a 2nd reef. Strong weather helm.

Suffered from seasickness after staring at lap too long. M too. C took over after awhile and let me sleep until the Patatuxent River was in sight. Tried to beat around point but ran out of day light.

Couldn't find open transient slip before nightfell in Solomons. Anchored near marina. Goose came steaming over and hung out near us.

Dingy into tow. No motor, only oars. Couldn't find dingy ramp. Lots of laughing. Felt like Navy Seals on a covert mission. Ate crabs cakes at the 'Captains Table'. Watched debate.

Under Power: 1 hour
Sailed: 7 hours

Cruise Log - Wednesday 10/1/08

Wind picked up from 2 knots to gusting over 20. Had to turn into wind because of serious keeling. Weather helm prevented us from coming back on course. Reefed main, no good. Struck Genoa. No good. Dropped main and let out 1/3 genoa. Able to make headway. Winds died down to 10 - 15 kts about one hour later. Let out entire genoa for three hours. Under bridge. Raised all sais and shook out reef 1 hour later. Made it to cove for the night just before total darkness.

Expect small craft warning at 10 pm to tomorrow afternoon. 15+ kts sustained and gusts to 25 kts.

Felt sick all day from acid in tomato juice. Slept big chunks away. C & M did great. No seasickness.

Rigged a way to keep dingy on back of boat instead of towing.

No wind until 1:30 or so.

Under Power: 3 hours
Sailing: 5 hours

Cruise Log - Tuesday 09/30/08

I'm going to post the log I kept during the week long cruise I did a few months ago. This is the first day and is veribatim what I wrote.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Discovered table that makes a 2nd large berth doesn't lower. Slept on couch.

Dingy' are loud when under sail and being towed.

Motored most of the day. Storm front came through around 7 pm. Stopped engine and waited for wind around 4 pm. Started sailing at 5 or so. Sailed into cove and anchored around 6:30 pm. Ate dinner outside. Big storm with lightning lasted until after midnight.

Under Power: 3 hours
Sailed: 1.5 hours

Possible Boat Slipping Away

Stupid economy.

This guy is selling a 1983 Catalina 25 for about $6000. I went to look at it on Saturday down at the Washington Sailing Marina. The slip, in which there is a wait list for over a year, conveys with the boat. The boat itself was used once or twice weekly for racing and is pretty good shape for being as old as it is. The rigging is in great condition, the inside needs a bit of work but not much and it could be cruising.

In the grand scheme of things $6000 is not a lot of money but heck if I can shake the money tree hard enough to get it. I've applied at quite a few lenders and I'm getting denied mainly because of the age of the boat and the requested amount is too low. Too low! What is up with that?

So I tried for a personal loan. Well, this is where being self-employed kicks me in the ass because they want your life history before they will even maybe possibly consider you, and even then the hurdle to jump is set so high right now you need almost perfect credit to jump it.

Actually, as much as it pains me to say it, it might not be a bad thing to miss this opportunity. I certainly have my hands full with school and contracting, and there is always charting.

Does that rational sound as hollow to you as it does to me? ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Battlestar Galactica - Grumpy Ex-Star

I came across this written by Dirk Benedict, the original Starbuck. It is on a blog called 'Big Hollywood' which is an attempt to fight back against big bad liberal Hollywood. Its full of silly but fun.

My favorite part:


There was a time, I know I was there, when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.


Wow. Everytime I learn one of the actors I like turns out to be a right-wing crazy person it makes me question why I like them. Then I remember acting doesn't have to have anything to do with your polictics. So I can like the characters they play and the way they are played, but dislike their views otherwise.

Crazy. The comments are fun there too.

Battlestar Galactica - Wait, What?

************** SPOILERS - SPOILERS - SPOILERS ****************













This is why I should finish watching an entire episode before writing a post. So, one-eye's deceased wife is the 5th. Seriously? Who even gives a crap about her? He killed her off seasons ago. What is the deal with Starbuck then?

Huh.

Battlestar Galactica - Through the Looking Glass

*********** SPOILERS - SPOILERS - SPOILERS *************













Ok, so let me get this straight. Starbuck is the 5th. Earth was nuked 2000 years ago. The 13th tribe was a tribe of cylons that populated Earth, thus implying that all of us are Cylons (which is pretty cool, if that's what they implied). Black chick with blue eyes blows her head off - apparently because she found a game of jacks on Earth - after a good night with Lee (totally didn't see that coming), so now he is fucked. Edward James Olmos can't play a drunk crazy person worth shit but Adama's character's decent into crazyville along with Roslin and apparently the entire fleet is pretty cool. And tiny tim is hopping around looking like a sad puppy dog left out in the rain with no purpose in life and questions that nobody can answer.

What the hell?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Burned In My Brain

Ok, this is what will go through my head everytime something says something dramatic for now on. So if I start laughing, you'll know why.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let's Go To DC Sunday!

I'm staying the hell away from the fuster cluck that will be DC on Tuesday, but this is on Sunday evening and I'm so going. Thinking about trying to get down into DC around 5 pm to eat dinner and find parking. Anyone want to join me?

R

Dinner in Paris

If I ever get my ass over to Paris, I won't to go over to this dudes house. Stupid Paris. Why can't he do it in the States?

Jim Haynes

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Introspection - Stream of Consciousness

I set here writing this while listening to Sarah McLachlan (thus the previous song post) and find myself in a really strange mood. I haven't done one of these stream of consciousness posts in a while so lets see where this one goes.

On New Year's day I started to think about what 2009 would be like, to get a gut feel for it. Usually when I do this I get some general idea for what is coming down the pike, who knows why, and I don't really care how. The last few years I've felt positive about and they have been positive. Is it the feeling that makes the year or something else? Again, I really don't care. This year, though, I feel like a dark cloud is around the corner. I don't get the same excited anticipation I have in the past. This year it feels like everything will just cancel out. Good and bad. And throw away year. At the same time I feel like there is a choice coming that will set the course for the rest of the year. If I choose wrong, it'll be that throw away year with a bunch of pain and suffering along with a bunch of good stuff. If I choose right, it'll be pretty smooth sailing. I have no idea what or when that choice is but I do feel like it is soon. Will it be a health crisis? Financial? Maybe not even mine directly but someone I know? Could it be emotional? Is this the year it all comes crashing down or when I loose control? What is this gnawing feeling in my gut that comes and goes. I don't know. Maybe just stress from the before-mentioned project and class.

I find myself wanted to get away, wanting to change. Well, I did. Two days ago I was having a really hard time. My stress was at an all time high. I had been staying up until 5 am every night for over a week working on this thing. I had changed when I take my meds to before bedtime to see if that would help with sleep (it did). It also gave me really vivid dreams. But late Wednesday night I dealt with something I haven't dealt with in over 10 years...an almost full blown anxiety attack. It didn't get there but I had some really dark thoughts and violent feelings going through me. It was really scary. It was the first time in, I don't even know how long that I honestly thought I was nearing the edge of a steep cliff. Is that how people feel before they have a breakdown? They just take that step over the edge and down they go? I don't know but I never want to be there again. I got the hell out of the house on Thursday and this evening and I'm not letting myself get to that point of stress again. I mean, what was the point? What was driving me to knock this stupid project out that I am going to end up loosing potential cash on? I still made time to hang out with friends here and there but I was cutting it short to get back to work. I NEVER do that. I've always felt that a healthy social life was more important than any slavish plodding along at work. Christ, I'm trying to get out of this field all together. I think. Am I? I don't even know. Sometimes it is fun developing because I'm good at it and it does satisfy some of my needs. But it doesn't give me that deep lasting feeling I crave. Like I'm really making a difference. Who am I making a difference for? Some guy that wants to rent apartments out? Wow, that is some world changing shit right there. Pointless.

Lest anyone gets concerned, let me put your mind at ease. I am doing well. I've certainly been in lower lows and I don't know that I would even call whatever this is a low. It is just a transition. Things are changing and sometimes I struggle to let it happen and to accept it. I think I adapt very well to new situations but that doesn't mean I embrace it. I have been having trouble believing that there is a Harry for every Sally on some days. On other days I'm sure of it. Lately I have been lonely but I'm ok with it, mostly. I couldn't have said that a few months ago. Being ok with being lonely, sad or angry is a good thing. Embracing those emotions and just sitting with them, not pushing them away, is the way to go. It is hard, but it makes a difference.

Jeez, no on is going to ready this thing. I'm certainly not going to reread it tonight. That defeats the purpose. A friend mentioned a question that was posed to him a couple of nights ago by someone. The question was: What was the last thing you regretted? Regret. Do I honestly regret anything? I don't mean the 'opps, that was stupid' sort of regret or the 'i didn't mean to hurt you type'. I mean the bone numbing, life changing, can-drive-you-to-the-edge-if-you-obsess-over-it sort of regret. I don't know that I do. There are decisions that, given the choice, I would do over but I don't know that I regret them. I've caused pain to others and I feel like shit about it. I've done things that have caused pain and hardship to me and only me as well. Would I do it differently? Fuck yes. Could I have done it differently? I doubt it. You are who you are when you make decisions. All of the things that go into that choice - hope, fear, passion, logic - are unique to that moment in time. Would you make the same choice now if knew then what you know now? Probably not. Its the same deal with looking forward. Does it make sense to plan? Absolutely. Does it make sense to stay strictly within that plan? I don't think so, at least not for me. I rather have a general idea, a target, to aim for with the understanding that that target can change in a heart beat. Facts on the ground and all that crap.

Blah, I'm going places that aren't useful to me, but it is stuff on my mind. I read that this guy tried to commit suicide by lighting himself on fire in front of a bunch of people. Shortly after he lit himself up he had a change of heart and threw himself on the ground and rolled around to extinguish the flame. Unfortunately, he rolled himself right off a cliff and fell to his death. Can you imagine that? That guy was so desperate he decided to end it. But the moment it was real, that he was really on his way out, he changed his mind. Hope sprung eternal. Then he rolled off a cliff trying to save his life. There is a lesson in that somewhere but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is.

I think I'm running out of steam here. At least for now. I've had scrubbing bubbles sitting in the shower for the past two hours and I think it is time to go back to battle. If some friends of mine end up somewhere hanging out tonight I might join them. I need companionship, closeness, some form on intimacy, even if it is just close friends. I'm craving it. I'm craving more than that but that will come, eventually.

In the meantime, I'm going to just go with what comes and stay present in the moment. And you know what? Despite it all, despite the stress and the loneliness and mess that is my house and my life I am more happy than not. I am more true to myself than I have ever been and I really feel I am going in the right direction for myself. I have no clue where it'll take me, but isn't that part of the fun?

Where Has Ryan Been

So, other than that little Israel rant you may have noticed all I have really been posting later has been songs and such. I've been in a weird place the past couple of weeks, ever since the week of Christmas really. I've been working on this short-term contract that was due today almost non-stop. I haven't put this much time and energy into a work project in years, almost to the exclusion of everything else. This week I started to get close to a snapping point with all of the loose threads I let dangle in the wind.

When I was back in H-Town I had something of a hard time of it. Memories kept creeping in of good and bad times and they just kept dogging me. I fell back into old habits and dynamics while relating to my mom sometimes and the frustration and anger I used to feel would come rushing back. Other times I would fall into a funk thinking about times and people past. It was a roller coaster of emotions and memories. Now, it isn't like it was all bad. I enjoyed the time with my family and was able to spend time with old friends I haven't seen in a while. There was some strain sometimes even then, but it was ok. I guess you really can never go back. There is another one I didn't really understand until now.

With this project I found myself not knocking out my homework. Fantastic. So now I have a five page paper and a two page paper due by Sunday in which I have starter neither. On top of that, I kept forgetting to order my books for the class that starts on Monday. I finally was able to do it today and it cost me $75 to ship them so I receive them in time. $75! Fascists.

Get this, though. I cleaned my bathroom. I know, big deal, right? But it is! Scrubbing bubbles are amazing! It still has aways to go but good god can cleaning be theraputic. Why didn't someone tell me this before! I can have a lean house, beat CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome), and feel good all at once! Love it.

Introspection coming next.

"Possession"

"Possession" - Sarah McLachlan


Listen as the wind blows from across the great divide
voices trapped in yearning, memories trapped in time
the night is my companion, and solitude my guide
would I spend forever here and not be satisfied?

and I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
and after, I'd wipe away the tears
just close your eyes dear

Through this world I've stumbled
so many times betrayed
trying to find an honest word to find
the truth enslaved

oh you speak to me in riddles
and you speak to me in rhymes
my body aches to breathe your breath
your words keep me alive

And I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
and after, I'd wipe away the tears
just close your eyes dear

Into this night I wander
it's morning that I dread
another day of knowing of
the path I fear to tread

oh into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride
nothing stands between us here
and I won't be denied

and I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
and after, I'd wipe away the tears
just close your eyes

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Israel

So Israeli mortars hit near a school today and killed some 30 people.

Can someone please explain to me how their heavy-handed approach isn't much much worse than the rockets being launched into Israel from Gaza? Last I looked the death toll difference between the two is HUGE. How in the hell is this a rational response?

The US needs to play a more neutral and even-handed role in negotiations in the future, please.

Monday, January 05, 2009

"candlelight"

NOTE: This is the post I referred to awhile back. I had initially posted it about a week ago but it kept the original date/time I wrote it so you probably didn't see it. So here it is.

I came across a movie tonight that was on the TV and watched it. Definately a chick flick but I was in that sorta mood I guess. Anyway, at different points in the movie the main character narrates a poem. There was one in particular that really tugged at me and I decided to post it here.

The movie is called "Fall".

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
candlelight.
steel blue-grey clouds over small lights.
sweet balance and snowflakes on the steps waiting,
like me,
for you to fall.

if only you were able to move…
to go, to fly, to fall.

i know how deep your smile,
how hard your love,
how far your longing,
how wild your pleasure…
if you were able to fall.

to see you there then would tickle me crazy.
to see you there in the embrace of that fall.
but i already know that view…
you have that smile.

your eyes for another bring that…
that love, that joy, that fall…

therefore i hum,
i sigh,
i giggle,
i kiss,
i smile,
i know,
i bow,
i go…

having had the joy,
having had the very joy i’ve ever desired for you,
only for you,
and your fall…
…for him.

"Fades Away"

"Fades Away" -Gary Hoey

NOTE: Gotta select the right song from the list on MySpace.


You don't miss me when I'm gone
I didn't notice that you changed your hair
You don't look at me when we make love
I try to act like I just don't care

All the little things that used to make us laugh
Had turned to gray like a faded photograph
How do we find a love that lasts to the end of time?

When love fades away I want you to know
I'm not gone away
When love fades away I need you to know
I'll be here to stay
When love fades away

Infatuation is gone
Love ain't greener on the other side
Let's find a love that makes us strong
I came back here to swallow my pride

All the little things that used to make us cry
Have turned to stone and left us here to die
How do we find a love that was yours and mine?

When love fades away I want you to know
I'm not gone away
When love fades away I need you to know
I'll be here to stay
When love fades away

When love fades away I want you to know
I'm not gone away
When love fades away I need you to know
I'll be here to stay
When love fades away

When love fades away I need you to know
I'll be here to stay
When love fades away

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Best Thing Ever

Besides the fact that an old white guy is singing the lyrics to Shaft is that the first cut scene to the audience is to the only black guy in the room. Oh, and that the entire thing is performed on the Ukulele.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Just Woke Up

It is 5 pm or so. I just woke up.

Great. Now my sleep schedule is upside-down like my mortgage.