Monday, August 29, 2011

This is like every political argument I have enjoyed for the past two years

Stolen from V the K (which is my link to the Cheezburger site!) Take from it what you will, but accusations of racism does not comprise an argument. And no, I do not hate our president.

Caption This!: Something I Whipped out on XtraNormal

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Friday

Well, Himmicane Irene (Trying to be PC, jus' like the gubmint!) is looking like a real threat for our neighbors to the North. I am happy for us in Florida but it looks grim for The Outer Banks of NC to New England.

The Spousal Unit was required at a Business Doo, last night so that meant I was unsupervised for the evening. After my first beer, I decided to open the gun safe and pull out my shootin' arrnes and do an inspection.

One never knows when there will be a local insurrection or flash mob, right?

Anyway; I spread an old beach towel on our nice cherry wood dining table, covered that with about four copies of the Wall Street Journal and brought out the cleaning kit. The cleaning kit was still in the original box and wrappings so that meant I would find out if I had all the makings for a cleaning session.

There was no solvent or oil. Dammit! Walked into the garage and found some lubricants (A plastic bottle of 5W-30 oil) and I found some break free type of solvent in a spray can.

This and some old t-shirts will suffice for now.

First weapon up was the Smith and Wesson. It is stainless steel and looked in good order. But I don't remember the last time I had cleaned it! Soooo,  the .357 was unloaded and opened up. No rust, no build ups, looked clean. I assembled the brush and handle, shot some solvent into the barrel and scrubbed away. Wiped clean I ran a few patches until they were coming out white. I lightly dipped a patch into a little oil and ran it back and forth. I used q-tips to get the remaining moving parts. Wiped all with clean t-shirt and reassembled with Magnum Hydroshok rounds.

No zombies gettin' by me, mmm-hmmm!

Next up was the Marlin 1895 .30-30. I have not fired this one at all, but it has been in the safe for the past two years. I unloaded the six rounds on the living room floor and returned to the table to pull  apart the weapon and verily, I cleaned the bolt assembly and barrel. Rinse and repeat.

My beer sat lonely as I was too focused on matters at hand. My only company was the XM Ratpack channel blaring from the TV Stereo. It's been a long time since I had a moment alone with firearms. Memories of cleaning M-16A1 and A2, .38 Cal snub nosed pistols, Beretta 9mm's, M-60 (we used those ancient things on the H-60, way back when) and my participation on various weapon load teams throughout the past 32 years.

"...Note acknowledged, Continue".

Gotta stay focused on the job at hand... Beer will be there when we finish.

The messy rifle was the Marlin 60, which is a .22 semi rifle. It was acquired used, so no telling the condition, I had to go on the internet to learn how to strip it. Got it... Two screws on the bottom by the trigger housing and the stock lifted right off. The trigger assembly itself had four screws and I had it in pieces. In order, left to right.

Some routines can never be altered.

Talk about gunk! It was solid carbon everywhere and I had to soak it down in solvent and really apply the q-tips and rags. The barrel was rubbed with scotchbrite and solvent from stem to stern and I dried everything carefully. Applied oil very reluctently, and wiped it away. Next thing was to see if it would all go back together.

Those who know me do not trust my mechanical acumen. Neither do I...

It all went back together as if someone else was doing the work. About midway through I got a phone call from She Who Will Be Obeyed, she was on her way home... "Please heat some pizza, ok?"

I reloaded the Marlin with 16 rounds of 22 Longs, cleaned my mess just as she drove up. The action of the weapon was smooth as silk. I'm starting to sound like a Kessler Commercial!

"Why is there a paint smell? Are you painting?"

"No, just solvent for cleaning guns," I replied quickly, grabbing my PBR and getting rid of it before she noticed.

The unasked question of course, was if I had been mixing alcohol with firearms.

"That was my second beer." I confessed, grabbing a fresh one out of the beer fridge.

I heard about the evening with work, and how Corinne Brown (Radical Congress Critter from Jacksonville/Gainsville/parts of Orlando) had been 25 minutes late for the doo and was dressed in a weird looking pajama outfit. Blah, blah, Yes, very interesting Dear...

SWWBO did have a productive night, she met a couple of influential people in her line of work and will be able to work more closely with said folks.

We sat and chatted for another twenty minutes over nightcaps and called it a day.
So endeth the evening. All weapons were in clean working (and Loaded) order and replaced in the gunsafe with the exception of the .357. I keep that one ready for immediate deployment, always within a quick reach...

Today; We stay dry, watch for any news and prepare for a quiet evening at home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 2 of the incoming big wind

Ahh, I guess the hope from my final line from yesterday is kinda working out, it looks like we may dodge the big one in Florida at the least and maybe the Carolina's will only feel a brush.


We just don't need more hassles in our Country today, considering what a small earthquake did to those weenies in D.C. I mean the economy is staggering under the load as it is and a major hurricane is the last thing we need to tip us over into 1932.

The Barco Crew is hoping the Gulf Stream, the Coriolis Effect and some winds can push Irene out into the Atlantic to spin itself out.

Driving to the Pizza Joint, I listened to some of the hysteria on the radio yesterday and you would think the earthquake was leaving wreckage like the Japanese style quakes. Some real brave twits were calling in to the Hannity show and bravely whining, so I switched the radio to a Country station. The pain coming out of the speakers is a little bit more believable.

Note; I am from the East Bay (San Francisco Bay) and grew up a couple of miles from the Hayward Fault. Earth tremors were a regular event and were of no worry unless we saw freeways beginning to fall. Missed the big one because I had moved to Florida, I watched the '89 quake on the tv live from the World Series. My Mom was working at the Ellis and O'Farrell Parking Garage that evening so that disaster was very real and personal. After work Mom had spent eight hours trying to get out of San Francisco just to return back home to Concord that night. Seems the 101 Freeway was crushed (Literally) and the Bay Bridge had partially collapsed so she had to go home by way of Fremont. That was a bad 'quake, but even then the human losses were minimal considering how many people were present and involved. Could have been much, much worse.

Yesterday seems like a good drill for us in the Southeast and those folks in the D.C. area. You just never know when the next disaster will be front and center at your locale.

Let's put the brave faces on, ok? We have a few more months of the Hurricane Season, so let's be ready and prudent.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bohica, Southeastern U.S.!

First big hurricane of the year is inbound, STFB for heavy rolls.

The Barco will need some more lines and a little work to prepare for this next week. Back in 2004, we lived in Fort Lauderdale on the Intracoastal Waterway. We kept the Barco in back of the condo and endured three hurricanes in a month. This was with us living on a barrier (Read: Sandbar) island right next to the ocean.

This time, we are about 32 miles inland tucked into a little cove with wind protection from three sides. It is unlikely we will get any direct damage, but one never knows.

My main concern is getting a couple of cat carriers for the three of Them living with us plus something for my Mom's kitty.

We have about six months worth of MRE's and dehydrated foods and a fifty five gallon tank for drinking water. There is a swimming pool in back for any additional needs like running toilets or having water to clean with.

Electricity is a real concern, at least for my Mom. Mom has COPD and needs oxygen. (She's a Martian who can't breathe Earth's air and should probably be in a space suit...) My plan (If she loses power, if.) is to get her and her machine to my home which has had good luck in keeping electricity. But, if not... Mom better be ready to stay on the Barco. There is food for over a week along with 200 gallons of water and about 250 gallons of diesel with a generator for AC power. Of course, Mom has no idea what my plans are, no doubt she will freak out as this storm nears.

If we have to depart the area, I will know in two days time. It will mean a two car caravan traveling somewhere into the interior. We will hole up in an expensive hotel (Last time it was a Sheraton). The reason for going to a more luxurious place is that most people will head for the cheaper stuff; Day's Inn, Patel's American Owned Flophouse, and of course The Notell Motel. This means screaming kids, thugs, criminals and all the accompanying problems associated with people going on the cheap.

F&*%$ That!  What's the point of having credit cards if you can't splurge and go large? We can make a real weekend of it and stay in some fun resort town. And just to show what kind of baddass jerk I am, I'll get two rooms so that I keep the peace in our family of diverse cats and people!

In a weird way, I'm looking forward to what ever happens. I would enjoy a trip and if all our stuff is destroyed, I will welcome the big insurance checks.

Jacksonville home values are half what they were back in 2005. But the insurance value is the same as when we bought. You can't sell any home for what you paid (unless you happen to be in a desirable location). For instance; My insurance is in the mid 300's, the personal property (the junk I hold valuable) is about 255K and then the insurance would have to pay for my hotel time if my home is not habitable. (Remember, I'm staying at a Westin Hotel!)


I'm sure my Mom will be unhappy, but if she got a check for a hundred K for her lost possessions, we could move on and find a new place to live.

This is all about looking positively at the situation. Fear and panic and such will only make things worse.

In the insurance industry, my situation is called a "Morale Hazard". That is when an insured is going to positively benefit if there is a loss.

Bring it on!

I have a Mossberg shotgun, Marlin .30-.30, S/W .357 Magnum, Ruger LCP .380 and finally a Marlin 60 semi with lots of ammo in case things get squirrelly with the folks who are more unprepared than me.

Of course, I am over reacting to future events, aren't I?

Hope all this is a non-event. Until then we shall keep the powder dry and prepare to make a run for it.

"... In the words of the Gypsy Queen, pack your things and leave". 


I guess my phony bravado and empty threats caused Irene to spin a bit more to the East.

No trip for me!

Now, if we can just get this storm to miss the entire U.S.!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday is here and still nothing new happening!

Finally, friday afternoon is here and I am gutting out the last hour of work. No one is happy, insurance costs go up, food prices increase and our paychecks can't seem to keep up.

Why, I swear we can hear snapping sounds coming from the phones as budgets go pop!

One nice thing all of  us Americans can be grateful for is our fine Federal Gubmint which is working tirelessly to ensure that the least among us will be fed. I read about something called Confinement Loaf.  Yum. Too bad they don't work as tirelessly to keep our economy as healthy as the guests who endure Nutraloaf.

When will our schools be serving Nutraloaf?

Well, for the Barco crew, we will endure and dinner shall be a steak and a nice red in lieu of the Nutraloaf. Afterwards, we will have a bit of bubbly, watch bad tv and go to bed and then get to enjoy our nightmares; together.

We be so discombobulated, I have no idea what the plans are for the weekend. The keg is still alive and well with flowing Sierra Nevada. My beer friend Phil and I did a quick cipher of the quantity involved; It seems that our $140.00 keg has about one hundred twenty beers, each of which would cost about $4.50 at the local taverns. 120X $4.50=$540

Call me Entrepeneur.

Soooo, my $140.00 investment brought in a return of four hundred bucks in value.... Lessons are there to be learned! Buy a keg, save $400!

Victory is mine...!

Oh, I almost forgot; I need to help mom get her internet back on, so I have that going for me... Always something to be done on every ship, it seems.

Maybe tomorrow,  the temperatures will come down enough to take the Barco for a spin. Or not. For now friday evening approacheth, and with the promise of brown bubbly beer to remove the stress of the day. Stop by and have a pull and I might let you have one of my cigars that I will never smoke.

Have a nice weekend and I hope that all news will be good news for each of you!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Not so fast...

Sunday brings the Barco crew home to do laundry and relax in the modern world of airconditioning. We stayed onboard the Barco at NAS Jax, again, meeting new people and retelling all the moldy tales of derring do on the ocean blue.

We had a bit of excitement when the thunderstorm blew heavy winds upon our boat causing same to bang upon the dock in an undignified manner. The Spousal Unit and our friend Phil deployed all the fenders in an attempt to cushion the impact, and of course, I was elsewhere getting a haircut.

The Spousal Unit was unhappy with my absence, and she glared at me as I sauntered up carelessly with the goodies from the Navy Exchange.

I began my assistance by futilely pushing against the hull as we added more fenders and settled in under cover while we waited out the winds and waves. About fifteen minutes later it was peaceful enough and we were able to hike up to the Navy Jax Yacht Club in time to watch the final moments of the Poker Rally finale. We missed the whole party!

Nothing to do but have some wine and beer and say goodbye to the other club members as they left two by two for home. That left us alone with our friend Phil.

About ten minutes after seven o'clock, the loudspeakers on base made the call for colors. We stood respectfully at attention and listened to the recorded bugle played Retreat. We stared into a bright sun which was still high in the sky...

After colors, we shared a giggle that someone was going to feel the wrath of the Commanding Officer or at the very least the Command Duty Officer... So Phil got on his cell phone to get hold of the Command Duty Officer, who happened to be a member of the Yacht Club.

About ten minutes later, a gent showed up wearing the sea camouflage utility uniform, wearing a badge of authority. Turns out he was not the CDO, but was the regional Command representative and he was very interested in getting hold of the Station CDO, if only to ask why colors played about an hour and a half early?

Ah, what mirth we felt as we snickered about how it was going to suck for whomever was responsible!

It was a gorgeous evening under the cooling Florida sky with a beautiful full moon coming up out of the East. There was a gentle breeze blowing from the sea and it really was nice to be outside talking about boats.

The main thing I was yapping about was this latest boat I spotted on Yacht World.



Sister Vessel.  I get warm fuzzy feelings about that Gun!

As you can see, the gun was removed long ago (Can I get one with a gun?) A more useful bubbling tub has been placed on the fore deck.

As we chatted on through the evening, I swelled up and mentioned a couple of times that if we could score that Mine Sweep and brought it back to NAS Jax, why, we would be BOATING GODS!!! motoring up and down the St Johns river, 139 feet of Naval history with a rag tag crew of ne'er-do-well retired sailors with base access, Navy ID cards and no supervision!

What could go wrong?

Getting the boat back to Florida would be the first challenge. Let's say we do make it back here in one piece, is there any other considerations?

Yes. The thing about wooden boats and warm Southern waters, they don't go well together. Wood eating parasites will soon set in and the maintenance would bankrupt us. Fuhgeddabout the fuel costs. Buying this boat would be the easy part, the financial headaches would surely come later.

If I was retired, fully, I could afford the initial purchase costs (We paid more for the roadster) but we would have to keep this nice vessel in the Northwest. Maybe cruise to Alaska every year, staying out while the Summer was relatively warm and inviting.

So much for that brief dream... Oh well. Half the fun is just looking and imagining, right?

Another photo:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Now I have a crush on a boat!

84 feet X 27 feet with six guest rooms

Carries 11K US Gallons of Diesel

Efficient shrouded props will not gather tangles!

This is an "Expedition Trawler"

Listed for $580K, they are asking for offers. I wish I had $300K in cash. This long distance cruiser/trawler was completely refitted from a Shrimper to Cruiser/liveaboard for crew of 12.

With 11K of diesel fuel, I would never have to stop! Well, ok, maybe at someplace nice. If only to top up on beer and other consumables.

The small problem with this boat (besides my total lack of enough cash!) is that it draws 9.5  feet, which would be a problem in some of the Bahamian islands and for that matter the Cook Islands out in the Pacific. I won't even think about some parts of the St Johns River, many sections are less than eight feet. But I think the Barco Crew could overcome any of these objections.

Dolphin Dreams is currently operated as an uninspected dive charter out of the Bahamas and Caribbean.

If I owned that beauty, my plan would be to load up with my friends (Gotta chip in for expenses...) and make the big tour. Imagine a "Long Cruise" (Like in the Navy, only without the endless drills) of six or seven months... Where our course would be set for fun, great weather and small adventures.

Ah well, if we have to dream, let us dream big.

84 feet worth.

I better get back to my desk and sell some more insurance.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nothing of note today

August is one of the slowest months.

Lately, I have been living vicariously through other boaters and wannabee boaters. It really is an exciting process to to learn and live boating. I have been there and done that in many ways, but watching others do what I haven't been doing is still a pleasure to me.

It has been a year since starting on the Pacific adventure, it seems like yesterday. But that is how life goes, you either Are or Aren't. In the Pacific, that is and sailing.

A month ago I alluded to some new stuff coming on the horizon; Looks like I may have been premature because the new stuff hasn't come to fruition. Not a big deal, just a minor disappointment that is overcome by the fact that our lives are very nice, with or without that opportunity.

Very nice!

The past couple weeks I have been watching a blog called, "From Land to Liveaboard". CB reminds me of a younger me, only he has a better touch with the written word and a much better talent with manipulating a website. "Dreams transport the ones who need to get out of town" sayeth the great poet Neil Peart.

We get trapped in the comfortable bondage of everyday existence, sometimes wondering if there is something else we should be doing. My trip last year reminded me of how it was to see a sky full of colored stars from a perspective I had never before viewed in an environment that was a bit rustic. I sit at a computer pondering all that I have not done, yet and what we might do to make something happen. Our health is reasonably good in the aggregate, why can't we get out and experience something new?

We have the house and other bills to pay, that's why. CB is looking for a new way. I hope he can put this together before it is all overcome by events.

Southern Cross photo is stolen from

Another "Southern Cross"

Did you know the Coast Guard had a be-on-the-lookout message in early 1988 for the boat in the video? The Coasties thought there might be drugs on that boat.  Gubmint always be goin' for the low hangin' fruits. T.I.N.S.!

Savusavu, Fiji. Right before we went ashore for beer!

Charming new friend who was cruising in Musket Cove, Fiji with her spouse and three kids. Nice family, too!  (Spousal Unit was right next to me as I took this tasteful photo...

I was bored, while sitting in a cave in Tonga. Imagine that!

Stay focused, everyone. Friday is approaching...