Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Three Hour Tour

So, this past Saturday, Jennifer and I had intended to go for a ride to Oyster Bay, a park just south of the Oakland Airport.

We'd been there before a year or two ago.  It's a fun ride along the water, and through interesting neighborhoods.  The problem is that my riding stamina isn't what it's been.

Over seven months in San Luis Obispo has taken it's toll.  I'm only riding 3 miles in the morning and three more in the afternoon.  And that's on days when it's not raining.  I still do other exercise by swimming in the hotel pool, but it doesn't quite translate.

The problem with riding in the Bay Area is that it seems like no matter what direction you go you have a headwind.  Unless your back is directly to the Golden Gate, it seems there is wind coming at your head and across you.  So by the time we go to Jack London Square, I needed a rest.

And there at one of the docks were two tall sailing ships.


It turned out that the ships were from Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, and they were giving tours.  We chatted with one of the crew members, and they also were planning a "battle sail."  We asked what that was, and were told the two ships would sail out into the Bay and fire blank cannon charges at each other.  Jennifer was all for it.  I took a little coercion, but just a little.  Our role playing group had just come had a sailing adventure.  I was a relatively easy sell.

So we had to choose which ship.  The smaller of the two was the Hawaiian Chieftain.  We were to learn that it is a class of ship called a "catch."  The other ship was the Lady Washington, which is a brig.  It looked a bit familiar, and drew us, so we chose to ride on that one.

There was another problem.  It was going to be cold, and we were dressed for a ride, so we needed to get another layer.  The closest reasonable clothing store we could locate was Ross on Alameda 6 miles away.  And we had two hours before we had to be back for boarding.

Do you remember the headwinds I mentioned earlier?

We raced to Ross.  We were huffing when we got there.  And Ross no longer had winter clothing, it being February in California and all.  Fortunately there is a Kohl's right nearby, and there, on their clearance rack we found a sweater for me and a Columbia fleece for Jennifer.

I will repeat that.  It is the last weekend in February with forecast highs for the coming week int he mid-50s, but because it is California, winter clothing is on clearance.

We stuffed Jennifer's saddle bags with the bulky clothing, and raced back to JLS.  We got there with 30 minutes to spare.  So we hit Rosenblum winery, bought picnic snacks, and rested before boarding for the battle sail.

And on the sail, we had an amazing time.

We learned all kinds of things about the ships (see the page for the stats).  It's a replica of a ship that sailed from the 1750s to 1790 when it sank off the Philippines.  It was the only real sailing ship in the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean."  And I took bunches of pictures of the rigging.








Here is where the "battle" took place:


We were at the height of the ebb tide and were struggling with the tide.  At one point were were making 0.5 knots heading south, and the Hawaiian Chieftain was heading west and we watched it sliding north with the current.  It was incredible.  Here she is later on against the Bay Bridge.


And by the time we got back to land (after our 3 hour tour), we were exceptionally grateful for our new warm clothing.  The clouds came in our last hour on the water, and the wind picked up.  And then we had our return bike ride home.

By the time we got home, our hands had lost some feeling.  The hour after we got in was spent enduring the painful pins and needles of our circulation returning.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Two years ago

Two years ago Leonard Nimoy passed away.

"I am now, and always shall be, your friend."

Still the best thing to say to anyone you care about.

It also brings this quote from Neil Gaiman to mind:

“To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due.”

Monday, February 13, 2017

One Scarf to Warm Them All

So, Saturday because I'm not in England, I wasn't able to watch BBC2's documentary "Back in Black" about the life of Terry Pratchett.  So I did my own tribute to him during the day and wore my Discworld T-shirt and a wide-brimmed black fedora.

And then I opened a package I had received in the mail while I was away from home continuing my work in San Luis Obispo.

Before Mom died, I had asked her if any of her friends knitted.  This was because back in 2010 I had come across this pattern on Ravelry probably linked from io9 or somewhere.  Now, Jennifer crochets, and the scant few people I knew who knitted were unwilling to take on such a project.  I would look around occasionally, but I couldn't find anyone to make it.  So I asked mom.  Not for her to make it.  Mom never sewed any more than she had to, but she was great at repairing my old stuffed tiger as a kid.

So she referred me to one of her mystery-book reading-group friends.  We conversed a few times, and she seemed willing to try it.  I paid for the materials and paid her a little more than what she seemed to think was a fair price.  It turned out to be more than she could feasibly do.  I got back a one-sided scarf that was a long as a minister's stole.  I'm six feet tall, and around my neck it reached past my ankles on both sides. It was not a scarf I could realistically wear because the stitches would have snagged and ruined the scarf.  I got a local tailor to stitch a nice fabric back on it, and while it's now safe, it's still much too big to wear.  I'm thinking of turning it into a wall tapestry.

But then last year, after Jennifer suggested I go looking on Etsy, I came across ArachneCrafts.  Now, right off I was intrigued because I love a clever mythology reference.  My years of reading comic books had prepared me for just such an experience.  And so looking in my search, I came across her examples of the One Ring scarf, called the Lord of the Rings scarf on her site.  (At this point, I have to say that I'm proud to have the one she made for me being the last in the photo examples.)

I put off making my purchase because I just wasn't sure.  I had gone to ThinkGeek and bought a One Ring scarf from them, but it wasn't as nice feeling as my Aperture Science scarf.  It was also smaller, and overall, kind of disappointing.  But finally, in December, I put in my order.

Susanna of ArachneCrafts worked with me on choosing the colors.  I wanted it to look lik the gold of the One Ring with script that looked like it was on fire.  You know, like it does when Gandalf drops it in Frodo's hand after it being in the fireplace.


Susanna was concerned that the yellow in the red-orange-yellow multicolored yarn would get lost in a golden yellow scarf.  I talked with Jennifer, and she suggested a charcoal color.  We tend to help the other see color combinations sometimes that the other isn't quite seeing.  And it turned out amazing as you can see below.



Susanna started just after the new year.  She actually got it done in about three weeks.

The only way I could be happier was if it were colder so that I could wear it.  But here I am in the scarf.  I think it's a fitting mashup with Pratchett wear plus the scarf.  It is so amazing.




Art Out in the Open

So Jennifer called me last week to say that she had been accepted to display her work at Oakland's First Fridays event on March 3.

If you've not seen her stuff, you can go here to her website.

What she shows there is just a small sampling of what she does.  She makes jewelry, wall art, cards, lotions and salves, plus so many other things.  I can't finish the description with "etc." because things are so different.  She's done gift boxes and journals, and photo albums.  It just goes on.

I'll be taking the day off to go help her.  Come find us on Friday, March 3rd, on Telegraph between 24th and 25th in front of Burrito Express.

Friday, February 03, 2017

More Acronyms

Today we learned about a new acronym: TWIC

Apparently TWIC stands for Transportation Worker Identification Credential."

After looking it up, we stared at each other, and said, "Do they mean driver's license?"

The whole process reminded me of George Carlin's bit on "shell shock" becoming "battle fatigue" becoming "post-traumatic stress disorder."

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Acronyms

So today I read this post.

I have had several coworkers in my past go out of their way to use acronyms.  One just seemed to love it and when he spoke it was like he'd spilled the alphabet.  He just did it to seem like he knew more than you and inflate his ego.

One time, he told me there was a site I needed go where they were trenching in preparation for laying RCP.  I know I looked confused, and he said, "You know what RCP is, right? Round Concrete Pipe."  He used an acronym to save one syllable.

A few years later, at a different company, I learned that RCP actually stands for Reinforced Concrete Pipe.

Now first, that's a three syllable savings, so that makes sense.

Second, he was wrong, and I felt much better about myself.

Missing Mom

So, it's been one year since Mom died.

I'm wishing I could be home with Jennifer or visiting with Dad today.

Instead, life goes on, and I'm in the middle of my work week in SLO.

Dad put up a new post on Mom's blog that links to the video he made for her memorial.

I think work has helped me over the past year as I've been in the field most of the time which has kept me busy and tired most of the time.

Still, there are times when I think of her, especially when I go to write a blog post.

Love to you all.

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