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.