Monday, June 30, 2008

Hello from New Orleans

It's hot. It's like Africa hot.

Not really. It's been cloudy and more temperate than expected. Big thunderstorm in N.O. proper but I'm at Judy's on the North shore, just cloudy and not so humid/hot. Hooray!

Lotsa Law and Order with the dad unit. Better than old episodes of Gunsmoke! Saw Paul's new baby. Maybe I'll have a poboy for lunch today, after Chrissy's jambalaya yesterday. Party on, dudes.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

5 places meme

The idea, stolen from here by way of here, is this:

Name 5 places you've lived. Be as specific or generic as you like.
List 5 memories associated with each of those places.
Tag 5 others. (I skipped this part cuz I'm not real fond of the tagging thing.)

Here's mine:

1. New Orleans, LA
A. Living uptown on Fern St., just off St. Charles Ave. and near Carrollton Ave. Except for the cars, it could have been an antebellum city with horse-drawn carts cruising the neighborhoods selling ice, vegetables, and the famous Roman Candy man. Snowballs! More like Hawaiian shaved ice than the typical American sno-cone, much finer grind on the ice.
B. Starting grammar school at Mater Dolorosa on Carrollton Ave.
C. I walked home from school one day when my mom was late picking me up. She was freaked that I walked and, by doing so, crossed two very busy streets by myself.
D. Learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels, heading down Fern toward St. Charles with the Mississippi River levee at my back.
E. The smell of the city. It's distinctive and evocative.

2. Metairie (suburb of New Orleans)
A. The Irish nuns at St. Christopher Grammar School were meaner than the nuns at Mater Dolorosa.
B. Playing at the playground in the Summer. The feel and smell of sawdust in the high jump pit. Wearing a wool uniform for baseball in that 98 degree heat with 100% humidity. How did we survive that? We installed central airconditioning in that house in the late '50s. Hooray! Phew!
C. Exploring the "wilderness" near my house - undeveloped land which, for all we knew, contained alligators, snakes, and pirate treasure. Pretty sure it harbored two of those three.
D. Attending a military prep school run by the Jesuits and the U.S. Marines. That was some fucked up shit. Nice stuff was travelling all over the country competing on the gymnastics team for that school and, independently, playing rock 'n' roll in New Orleans clubs. There's a learning experience for a young lad!
E. Moving back to New Orleans for college. Being on my own in the post-1965-Voting-Rights-Act and Vietnam era. Wow!

3. Seattle, WA
A. Moving to a new city was scary. And exciting. But definitely scary. I transported my life in my '69 VW bus loaded with all my earthly possessions. Finally sent that bus to VW heaven in the mid-90s. Now we have a Honda Odyssey minivan which I consider merely a modern version of my old bus. I like minivans.
B. Outdoor activities in the beautiful Northwest. Hiking, climbing, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, sailing (until I decided that cold-weather sailing was not as much fun as New Orleans sailing and cut back. Way back.)
C. Working for Microsoft. Interesting experiences there.
D. Meeting and marrying Ronnie. No elaboration needed, simply the best thing that ever happened to me except for…
E. Having MJ and Chloe. No elaboration needed here, either.

4. Destin, FL
A. Quitting Microsoft and going to live in the sun and sand for a while. Ahhhh, that was a wonderful feeling.
B. There's no sand like the beach sand in this area. Fabulous.
C. Seeing a mom and baby dolphin right near our skiboat in our waterskiing bayou. Watching stingrays cruise the shallows near the shore from our balcony. Watching our still-in-diapers Chloe become a drown-proof waterbaby.
D. Horrible, near-divorce trip to Disneyworld. I still refuse to go to a Disney site because of that trip. Ick! Worst experience ever.
E. Taking flying lessons. I always wanted to fly and after that trip I became a licensed pilot. Very cool.

5. Zombie Princess (various locations)
A. Working on a boat in New Orleans in August. Christ! What an energy drain. If someone asks you to help them do fiberglass work inside a lazarette in New Orleans in August, just say, "No!"
B. Katrina! Too much complicated stuff there to relate any level of detail beyond the simple word: Katrina.
C. Riding out Rita at anchor in a curve of Bayou Bonfouca. I LOVE Bruce anchors. A bit after Rita, when the Industrial Canal bridges were working again and we made our escape, the sights and smells of once-urban and thriving New Orleans. A post-apocalyptic ghost town, dark, quiet, and smelling of rot and decay and, surprisingly, coffee.
D. Crossing the Gulf of Mexico. Painful details here.
E. One lovely day at the Dry Tortugas (National Park), having the actual "tropical" cruise we'd planned, with warm, clear water, sandy beaches, and lovely snorkeling scenery. Then, seemingly inevitably, the ranger-enforced evacuation to Key West because of Wilma. Fuck me!

Ok. That's an attempt at this meme from me. How about you?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pathological science revisited

A while back I wrote a post about gullibility and charlatans and, in passing, I mentioned cold fusion. It was just a coupla lines in a lengthy post but, because I was snide about cold fusion, Jed from lenr-canr responded, defending cold fusion research and insisting that cold fusion was not pathological science. I was shocked that somebody other than my family and a coupla friends actually read my blog but manfully responded to his comments with a bit more commentary of the cynical kind.

Jed responded at great length, defending cold fusion and the validity and repeatability of current research in that area. I let it go. Life's too short to spend time arguing about cold fusion. Well, imagine my surprise, after Jeb had assured me of the thousands of repeatable cold fusion experiments and articles, when I saw this article, which states, in part:

A Purdue University panel that reviewed misconduct allegations against a scientist who claims he produced "tabletop fusion" has concluded that "several matters merit further investigation."

The finding was announced without elaboration in the case of Purdue nuclear engineering professor Rusi Taleyarkhan.

He published research in 2002 saying he had used a simple tabletop experiment to unleash fusion, the force that powers stars. He has come under fire since then because other scientists have tried without success to reproduce his fusion work.

Not repeatable?

Oh dear! And this guy got money from the Office of Naval Research, one of the successes Jeb was bragging about in his defense of cold fusion research. Oops. The standard defense?

Taleyarkhan said other scientists have replicated his work and accuses his critics of conflict of interest, jealousy and other motives.

Yeah, My perpetual motion machine really works, too, but those damned smartass critics with physics degrees and shit like that are suppressing me cuz they're working for the entrenched power structure, and they're jealous, plus they have "other motives." It's those fucking hot fusion hooligans again! I think they belong to the Illuminati. Bastards.

I've enjoyed blogging about numeracy, music, this war, me (most of my posts, really), HDS (one of my faves!), the upcoming election, the LIFEisGood unschooling conference, and a whole lotta other stuff. (But mostly ME!) I never thought I'd waste my time making a second post about cold fusion. Don't I have something more meaningful to do?

Yeah, I do. I think it's time for some HDS. Or maybe Flavor of Love is on TV. Ooooohhhh! Public Enemy rules! Ya know, I'll hafta check their oeuvre to see if they have a tune about cold fusion. That'd be righteous.

Later, 'gators!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I know Bob is working on a logo for his boat with all the bandwidth he has free; however I was motivated to take a whack at it myself with this quick-and-dirty concept in Paint. Wish I were a decent artist. Wish I had a decent piece of software to do this sort of thing. In any case, here's my idea for "Gort" within those limitations:

Or maybe this?

The original Gort:

And the boat itself:

Whatcha think?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sailing, sailing

over the bounding, choppy, always-a-PITA Gulf of Mexico.

I've never had a completely swell time on or crossing the GoM and my last time, with the family in 2005, was pretty much the worst ever, post-Katrina, post-Rita, and pre-Wilma.

However, prelimiary word from the surveyor on my pal Bob's (potential) boat is very positive, so it looks like I'll be flying to New Orleans so we can fly to Miami and sail Gort back to New Orleans, right past the idyllic Florida Keys and straight out across the middle of the fucking GoM!

On the good side, the theoretical typical weather for early July is for winds of 10~15 from the Southeast(ish) and waves of 3~4 ft.

Idyllic. Perfect for a scoot from the Northwest passage at Key West to the Gulfport fairway, leading to the ICW to New Orleans. (No Mister GO for us!)

What are the odds? (When's the last time your weatherman was accurate?)

Like the man said, hope for the best but plan for the worst. Honestly, I'm expecting at least one day of winds at 30G45 (inevitably from the "wrong" direction) and seas of 8~10 ft. The GoM is a treacherous maneater. That's why gawd invented the 406 EPIRB.

On the very excellent side, this will be the sail Bob and I should have had together thirty years ago or, at least, three years ago. No matter the weather, it'll be an exquisite adventure. Plus, for Bob, it will include his son, Tim, as our third crewmember. That'll be a wonderful bonding experience.

Look for more details as things progress. I expect to arrive in Miami on July 1 and set sail within a day or two of arrival.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Technology gets even cooler

I recently posted a link to an article about Google-Ocean. Here's a new one sailors should love, especially given the cost of charts nowadays.

Mapping combined with NOAA charts.


W.I.P. Wodney

Wodney the Wat died yesterday. He was a wonderful wascal. I'll miss him.

Wequiescas in pace, old pal.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Yes, we can!

I've been one of Obama's boyz since Kucinich dropped out. I'm happy we've finally gotten to the point where he's (semi)officially our candidate.

Bemmys for Obama!

Frank, Zeroth Bemmy