Thursday, May 27, 2010

Northbound and down, loaded up and truckin'

We are now down doppler heading North to the Keweenaw Peninsula, should be in Marquette by 1700. Our return is planned for next wednesday, so stand by for any news, if I can get internet access in the U.P.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, drive safe out there!

We will be stopping by "Da Tourist Trap", in Ishpeming.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

I'm only sayin'...

Today is/was the big Bank promotion at work. I stood in the sweltering sun of Jax cooking hot dogs for anyone who cared to be thrifty and get a free lunch.

But ya gotta hear the pitch for our car loans/credit cards and home financing. Boss bought twenty pounds of beef hot dogs from Sam's Club, some "Bakers" brand. Outstanding dogs! I will be purchasing a box for my grill, they were that good.

T-Minus seven days until we make the big pilgrimage to the Keweenaw Peninsula, in honor of two nephews who gradjieate (sp. int) from Calumet High, home of one George Gipp.

Photo ripped off from the good folks at Keweenaw info. They own all rights to the picture. (This blog earns no money)

Just to show a token of our extreme, we shall visit and leave many gifts. I'm just hoping that the winter is over with, it will be nice to not be cold.

In a couple weeks, one of the nephews will be heading off to his National Guard advanced individual training. The other nephew shall head off to a big deal Technical school to become a ASE mechanic. They really are two very nice young men, and their families are very proud of them.

Fortunately, they merely think of me as some kind of ole-timer goofball, to be tolerated at family functions. For instance; I can't wait to revisit the world famous bar in Gay, Michigan. Totally nice place that welcomes all people, not just the locals. About fifteen years ago, we spotted a bear about a hundred yards from the little town. Great times.

Apparently, we will be staying in a cabin next door to the Phoenix Bar.

Our trip will take us from Jax to Deetroit, Rock City. There we will get in a puddle jumper which will deposit us at the former K.I. Sawyer AFB, Marquette Michigan.

Are you excited for us?

Sure. I knew you were.

Be back, later today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Word for the day: SODIS

SODIS: I never knew about this method of SOlarDISinfection. Apparently, if you place water in a clean plastic or glass bottle and lay the bottle on a metal surface for heat conduction, the bacteria and other nasties will be disinfected in six hours from heat and ultraviolet light. They recommend that the water be fairly clear and not completely brown.

This is helping third world people reduce the rampant runs and other water borne afflictions that make living in the wild such an interesting affair. I wonder if cholera can be reduced? Typhoid, even?

We never learned this in Land Survival, we were told to carry water purification tablets or bleach. Still, this is great news and easy for any of us who happen to have clear bottles to be able to make drinkable water, in only six hours of bright sun.

I repeated the six hour thing just to ensure the reader got that important bit of business. Because the Barco Crew cares.

This would be a part of the UN that makes sense, helping people survive in tough conditions. Now, all we have to do is get the Women Hating Totalitarians off of the Human Rights Council and we can get back to helping the humans, rather than just oppressing them for their own good.

Thus endeth, today's term of the day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Interesting times

Kinji ShibuyaPassed away around the beginning of the month.

Kenji Shibuya (Shibuya family) ( CONTRIBUTED PHOTO )From San Jose Mercury

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, young kids like me were glued to the T.V. on Saturday afternoon's watching the local variant of the so called Big Time Wrestling. There were heroes and villains and none more frightening than Kinji Shibuya.

When I was very young, like maybe eight, my father would joke with me about some of these wrestlers (He sold Ciclon Negro a Life Insurance policy, he always knew everyone famous, it seemed!)He would say something like, "Watch out, Kinji Shibuya and Mitsu Arakawa might pull a sneak attack on you!"

With a cool name like Kinji Shibuya, you should expect something exciting, right? Anyway, there were the villains like Mr. Saito, Mr Fuji,  Gerhardt Kaiser and the Von Brauner's (The obligatory Nazi's), Pat Patterson, (A Good Guy), Ray Stevens (Not a good guy), and others like Pepper Martin, Pepper Gomez, and the memorable Moon Dog Mayne. As a kid, it was real theater and we believed the characters and the roles they played.

As a so-called adult, I have read that after a brutal match in which blood may have been drawn, these guys would ride off in their car-pools to go have a sandwich and a beer and laugh about the evening.

If you read the linked article, look down in the comments; Some person using Slogun as their handle said, "Careful now, this could be a trick! You never want to turn your back on Kinji Shibuya!"

That is probably the best way to remember a great entertainer.

Ronnie James Dio made the transition from life to the next stage over the weekend. I was a fan back in the 80's of his musical talents and distinctive singing voice. At first I worried about the subjective matter of his music, but it really was all about good versus evil and the music was some stirring stuff. Later on, when his albums weren't selling so much, RJD would show his sense of humor by appearing on Pat Boone's album, "No More Mr. Nice Guy". I own a copy!

I will have to play a couple of his CD's this week, if just to annoy the Spousal Unit. She was forced to watch the film, "Rock and Roll High School" last night, so I am treading on some musical thin ice.

I wonder who will be next, since the famous seem to prefer departing in threes? Hopefully no one that is close to you...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Theo Spark: Video: Reliant Robin space shuttle (Top Gear)

About 1976 and 1977, I was pretty active in making model rockets, the Estes kind. They are relatively safe and interestingly fun to a kid just dreaming of flight.

These Estes rockets are available at most hobby stores and literally,  a single afternoon is all that's needed to acquire, set up and launch your own rocket into very low earth orbit. (two thousand feet!)
Watch this great clip on big kids creating a EU Shuttle!

Theo Spark: Video: Reliant Robin space shuttle (Top Gear)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just in case anyone's confused; An 'splanation ob de boatz

I have been wondering if there has been some questions about the three boats recognizable on this blog. Up on top and at the bottom, The Mighty Wildebeest III. We lived onboard her in Europe and Florida from 1996 through 2004, when we sold her due to living in Fort Liquordale.

Lauderdale has too many bridges on the Intracoastal, so it would take us about two hours from our berth in Coral Ridge to the Ocean.

So we acquired a Marine Trader Sundeck 40 called Barco Sin Vela in January 2004.

One thing we liked was that the Barco could get under bridges. Going ten knots was a bonus, too.

We frolicked in the Southern Florida waters, making regular stops in Biscayne Bay and Elliott Key. Always in the company of our Boy Cat, Mao.

Him cries when there are no humans to serve him, and cats were a no-no at the Condominium we lived. We did not want to be ejected for not following rules, so we brought the kitty.

About November of 2004 we got notice that we had to move back to Jacksonville. We gathered our gear and Spousal Unit's father (The one who is very afraid of water and boats...) put him in a life jacket and we departed at midnight for Jax. It was a beautiful three night transit to Jacksonville via the Intracoastal waterway.

I know every inch of the waterway from Jacksonville to Key Largo. Did it four times.

in August of 2008, disaster struck.

 The guy stepping on the sunk Barco is the owner of the little boat in front of our trawler, his boat broke free of a mooring and took out about a half million worth of boats.

Our insurance paid for our totaled boat and we acquired the Barco Sin Vela II, a Nova Heritage East Sundeck Trawler. As seen below.

You could say that the Barco Crew was Indemnified. (When will I ever use that word again?)

Entirely too much fun is being had. Always; Look out for Number One and don't step on Number Two!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A request for recipe is answered

A commenter, Dave O. asked if recipe was available.

The recipe is from a Spanish style Tapas food book. The dish was;

Sizzling Chili Shrimp

Pound of Raw Jumbo Shrimp, in shell

1 small fresh red chili

Note: We did not have the chili, so we substituted Red Chili flakes, to the tune of half a teaspoon.

2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

4 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped

Pinch of Paprika

Dehead Shrimp
peel most of the shell off the tails leaving last section for handling

Butterfly shrimp by using sharp knife along the underside of tail, devein

Rinse shrimp and dry

Important; Wear gloves

Cut chili lengthwise and remove seeds, finely chop the flesh. After chopping wash hands very carefully.

Mix oil, pepper, garlic and paprika and cover shrimp in a plastic bag and soak for an hour, or two.

Skewer shrimp on bamboo sticks and grill for about two minutes a side in barbeque, until just slightly pink.

Chow down. Accompany with  Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Peeves that need Petting

One Peeve, that has become a Pet is the term "Looser". Usually used by someone who really means to say; "Loser".

Deduct fifteen points from that loser's grammar grade. Looser describes a physical fit of some type. Like this;

Today, I enjoyed a full English Breakfast with an added half cup of dietary fiber, followed by two cups of coffee. My morning constitutional was much looser than yesterday's.

Watching the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving day is a loser tradition. I watch the Detroit Lions every Thanksgiving; I must be the Loser, especially after betting on the Lion's. I find my wallet seems Looser and  not so snug with petty cash.

Two Peeves: I was watching the Professional Golf show from Ponte Vedra, yesterday. Everytime one of those golfer fella's hit the ball, a screaming contest would begin in the gallery;

"GET IN THE HOLE!!!" Anyone caught yelling that inane little encouragement should be strangled by an IRS agent. Or at the very least, their neighbor should throttle them out of respect for the players and the folks watching at home.

"GET SOME!!!" was another one yelled repeatedly at the 17th hole. That individual should be sent to Afghanistan where they too, could indeed "Get Some".

It was a fine Mother's Day, we cooked up some spicy chili shrimp followed by salmon on the grill. A wonderful 2006 Chardonnay from Franciscan Vineyards completed the gustatory experience. Dessert was a
Crème Brûlée with strawberries, served with a Chateau Ste Michel Washington bubbly.

Have a fine week!

Friday, May 7, 2010

On the road to the Bahamas

Switch back to May 2000;

We had finally worn out our welcome at the Chief's club in Roosevelt Roads, and announced that we would depart the next morning. The local Quartermaster Chief was nice enough to bring us to his office where we could loot his stock of Defense Mapping Agency Charts of the local areas. That was really nice, and ensured that the Wildebeest was fully loaded with every possible chart from Puerto Rico to Jamaica.

There was no real plan on our departure, it was early May and the tradewinds were down to a steady twelve knots with nary a cloud in the sky.

As we motored out of the mooring field, I saw the Mighty Strike Trawler  Strike Destroyer DD-989 USS Deyo! They were at the big refueling Pier just the same as when I was a member of the Air Det, eight years earlier.

It was a kind of melancholy moment as we slowly drifted by, I could see the Air Det people hanging around bored, watching us pass. I wondered out loud if there was someone dreaming of being on the sailboat passing fifty yards to the stern. I know that in 1991 and 1992, I was thinking of nothing but being with the Lovely Spousal Unit, and just maybe, maybe get to own a small sail boat where we could sail together. 

Announcement's from the Quarterdeck of the Deyo, over the 1MC were just as I always remember, as they still do today; A quick whistle for attention, "The XO's underway checkoff sheet is available on the quarterdeck... the following is a test of Ship's Whistle, General, Collision, Chemical and flooding Alarms... the following is a test..." 
Or something like that

I really felt that I was no longer a part of such busy-ness. And never would be again. The sounds faded as we slowly moved homeward bound.

Only we weren't heading for home. As far as I knew, we may be aiming for Luperon, Dominican Republic. Land of 25 cent beer and even cheaper mooring.

My mind was still thinking about the trip, not destinations, as we passed northward around Fajardo. Once clear of Fajardo's reefs, we would turn to a course of 270 degrees and watch San Juan on our port side. Briefly, I considered going in, if only to visit the Bacardi Factory.

No, we needed to keep moving. If we stopped we might never go again, such is the danger of the tropics. People tend to get ensnared by the easy sultry lifestyle and find themselves ten years later, hooked permanently to a rundown barstool in a two dollar rum joint. Not that that is such a bad thing, but we really had to start considering how we were going to pay down a 9K credit card bill.

"Runaway to the Dominican Republic... to hell with the bills... live on your pension," said Jack the retired Marine.

I put on the Autohelm and prepared our fish killing stick with a Rapala lure on fifty pound test line and began to troll for a fish. About two minutes later the reel started screaming it's one note wail, telling us a big one was now controlling the lure.

Ahhhhrrrggg! "Slow the boat down", I yelled as I ran to the stern.

"I can't," said she, "We're sailing!" 

"Let out the sheet, get the gaff cuz this one is BIG!"

I fought with the fish, a Dorado, with golden green colors flashing on the surface as we fought for it's life.

Ten minutes of twisting, pulling and reeling and I finally got the fish  just astern. That's when he spit the lure out and swam away. Disappointment and cheer was the feeling for the moment . We couldn't possibly eat a ten to twelve pound fish and it really was a beautiful fish. 

We had plenty of food and we both were happy to have made the acquaintance with our fish. And he left teeth marks on our lure!

This was going to be a great trip, I just knew it...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Silly stuff that I really need, #629

Being sold on EBAY by "Indignico"
A Crying Velvet Elvis is the the most important Art I could ever aspire to own. I suffer without having a Velvet Elvis gracing the bulkhead of the Billiards room. Just look at the emotion depicted.

Mere money cannot acquire such beauty.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Uniformed Government Messenger brought some goodies by...

If you read the knife sleeve, It tells the customer to "...Build a Set of Steak Knives"

These are the World Famous Steak Knives from 1970, only at your Shell Dealer, of course.

When I was growing up in the late 60's, my father had acquired two of these treasures from the Shell station at Golf Links Road and 98th Ave (Right by the MacArthur Freeway entrance). These were the only steak knives we had until at least 1976.

One dinner in London, around winter of 1997, we were enjoying a steak onboard "Mad River" which was sailed by our friends Dick and Pat, and they pulled out two identical knives from their utensil locker.

"I bet I know exactly where you got these knives..."

Dick says,  "I bet you can't".

"Shell station, 1969".

"How do you know that?"

"We had some, too. They're awesome knives!"

I was telling that story a week or two, ago, and I decided to look online to see if they were still out there. I got two sets off of ebay, all in original, unused condition with boxes and sleeves. For less than 20 bucks.

Twelve of these classic knives which will replace our old Ginsu's (Don't get me started on those little darlin's!).

Got's to love ol' Ebay! Bringing those memories to light, 24/7.

Go ahead; tell me your stories about how you used those same knives back in the day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pretty quiet weekend

Did the dining out thing on Friday night. Saturday was a day for shopping for shoes and clothing for the Spousal Unit, followed by a quiet afternoon home. The fun thing was we were actually able to find four pairs of shoes that fit properly and found some good deals on clothing. We celebrated by coming home and watching the tv starting with the previous day's Red Wings Sharks game.

Ordered a Papa Johns pizza online, (First time in about ten years), which is more convenient than calling the order in. Results? The pizza was not quite as good as I remembered, so we won't be doing that again. Just picky about pizza nowadays, nothing anyone can do about pickiness.

The cats were up today at the crack of six so I resisted them as long as I could. Gave in to their craziness at 0700, got them their wet food and fired up the coffee. "Them" were very much in the playing mode, running at full sprint through the house, tackling each other and running over our feet. If only we could get them to retract the claws as they pass by. Would be so nice...

As for today, the big plan is for when I will meet the Mom at the Yacht Club for the famous brunch, at noon. Great to dine on the water with the finest view on the St Johns River at no extra cost to us po' folk.

We have enjoyed the slower pace of this weekend, too bad we can't have more than two days off. Later this month we will get in some long distance traveling, we will be in Michigan at the end of the month for graduations at Calumet High School (George Gipp being the most famous Alum).


But I do enjoy visiting the Upper Peninsula. Not so much hustle and bustle as there is in just staying warm. The people are nice up there, too. Once they know that we are kin to Tommy and Sue. Always mentioning that the Spousal Unit is Tommy's sister, this ensures that we are met with open friendliness and not the quiet distrust given regularly to the visitors from "down South".

Everyone knows everyone else in the Keeweenaw, I think the population is maybe 1800 strong, so it is natural that all the locals look out for one another. Not a bad thing, wish it was this neighborly in the Hood we call Jacksonville. In the U.P. everyone has at least two guns in the car, just like parts of Jacksonville!

So endeth the dull report of our quiet weekend. Hope everyone else is enjoying the Spring and getting outside to feel the warmth of the sun!