Sorry, but sometimes a guy just doesn't have a theme to riff on so here's just some random stuff.
When I wrote the Karaoke rant the other day, I left out one of my many pet peeves in the interest of accurate reporting. I'm referring to the DJ's choice of headgear. As reported, he wore a black porkpie hat. I have no issues with porkpies, especially the ones that are made with real pork. In my original draft I had him wearing one of those STUPID-LOOKING baseball hats that the hip-hoppers like. You know the ones: the the brim is just dead flat, absolutely no curve to it at all. Then they usually have a stiff, unnatural-looking trucker type front on them with some huge graphic. But worst of all is when they insist on wearing them cocked anywhere from 45 to 135 degrees from centered. I mean c'mon! That look was cute on these guys:
Batteries: After reviewing my battery charging set-up I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it that is causing my engine-starting batteries not to charge. So, I'm going to follow the path of least resistance and get a new battery. The current batteries were warrantied for 30 months and are now 82 months old. Prior to going into service as engine-starting batteries, they were used for both starting and house batteries so they have no doubt been cycled many, many times. So, we'll just start the cruise with new batteries. And if that doesn't do the trick I'll dive into the system deeper. But I think back to my years with cars. There were numerous times when I replaced alternators when all I really had was a worn out battery.
I got the spare laptop ordered yesterday. Happy to report that I stuck to my guns and ordered another MacBook. Okay, actually what happened was Lulu said, "You love the Mac, you hate the Windows machine, why would you not order another Mac?" Wow. Brains AND beauty. If you're interested in good deals on Macs, check out the refurbished ones available on-line through the Mac store. They come with the same features and warranty as a new unit and you have the satisfaction of knowing that whatever bugs may have cropped up during the original owner's brief time with the machine have been worked on and eliminated by the factory team. In other words, instead of just getting one off the assembly line, you get one that has had personal attention. I saved 24% by buying a refurbished version of the MacBook that I was going to buy anyway. And the shipping is free. We bought a refurbished iPod from the same place and haven't had any issues with it that any other iPod owner doesn't have.
Also got my Speedseal ordered. In case you're not hip to what I'm talking about, it's a new cover for the engine's raw water pump which can be removed by hand, in the dark if necessary. I've toyed with the idea of one for some time but a prod from a recent blog by Livia on s/v Estrellita 5.10b got me off my butt to actually make the order. I was assured it would fit my engine. Hope so. Just ordering the thing was kind of a throwback. I haven't ordered anything by phone in a long time. I generally do my mail-order shopping on-line. but the Speedseal website says "No Online Orders". I suspect this is because they need to query you a bit about your engine so they're sure to get the right unit. Like on my Westerbeke 3-30B, there were apparently several different water pump manufacturers used. At least according to the friendly-sounding British-accented gentleman at Speedseal. I'm not sure this is accurate because my owner's manual only lists one part number for each part of the pump. But, at any rate, the Speedseal is ordered. Look for reports on how well it works for me after I get some experience with it.
While I was in the phone-ordering groove, I called Cook Engines in Portland and ordered spare water pump impellers. I know I have a couple on board. I just don't know where. They don't show up on the computerized inventory which is weird, but I'm almost positive that there are a couple here somewhere.
Our friend Charlie, the guy refurbishing the Alajuela 38, dropped by the other day. He had a military surplus computer that he had bought off E-Bay. There was supposedly some navigation software on it and he also had a USB GPS receiver for it but wasn't sure how it all went together. Well, it looks like he got a pretty good deal because there were a couple of navigation programs on it as well as most of the NOAA charts for the west coast, a bunch for the east coast, and a DVD containing all the NOAA charts. We plugged his GPS into the computer and quickly located our position on the charts. This being a Windows machine, it had obviously already been set up for a GPS because no configuration was needed. At any rate, this exercise made me decide to get a USB GPS for our MacBook. I have charting software on it as well as all the NOAA charts and, although we'll be doing most of our navigating with the Garmin chartplotter, it never hurts to have a back-up. I think we're pretty well covered in that department. We have:
VHF/AIS radio with a dedicated GPS receiver and an on-screen display of our coordinates
Garmin handheld plain-jane GPS
Sextant (which we haven't learned to use yet but we have the training materials on board)
and now the MacBook with a dedicated GPS receiver
Charlie returned the next day and brought me 2 staysail cars for the track I'd gotten from him in trade for our old staysail boom last summer. I've been putting off buying these cars because they are so freakin' expensive. Then along comes Charlie with a pair that he bought on E-Bay or someplace. They need a little modification to make them work, but the price was definitely right.
My folks brought their fifth wheel trailer over here to Newport yesterday. They're up in the RV park that is immediately adjacent to the marina. Also visiting is my Uncle Felty and his girl friend Dolores. We all had dinner in Felty & Dolores' gigantic motor home last night. Tonight we're providing dinner although Felty & Dolores are providing the space. Trying to feed 6 people on our boat in rainy windy weather would not be a pretty sight. Lulu made spaghetti sauce yesterday. I must say that if she had made spaghetti sauce like this 33 years ago, I'd have married her just for that, it's that good. As it was I succumbed to her other charms and the sauce has developed over the years. She's not stingy with her recipes so, if anyone is interested I'll post the recipe in a near-future blog. She also made a couple loaves of French bread to go with. Mmmmm. I wish it was dinner time right now instead of 8:20 in the morning.
My folks offered the use of their pickup while they're here this week. I'm sure they were thinking of a quick trip to Safeway or something. But, boat bums that we are, we pushed it a little further and they very graciously agreed to let us use it for our last supply run to the valley. We'll take off Thursday after I finish cleaning the otters' toys at the Aquarium and the spend the night at Cody's. We'll return on Friday. Thanks Mom & Dad. Awfully nice of you. Saves us a bundle on a rental car as well as the hassle.
So what sorts of supplies do we need that we can't get here or on-line? Well, you can get anything on-line (except Speedseals) but some things you want to inspect and/or try on first. We need to get Lulu a new backpack. We carry a lot of stuff on our backs and that's not likely to stop any time soon. My vintage canvas and leather Sacs-Millet summit pack has turned out to be ideal. It's roomy, lots of places to strap stuff on if needed, pockets in the top flap for quick and easy access to things like a rain jacket, and, best of all, an internal metal plate that acts like a pack frame to keep it rigid. But it also protects one's back from the protruding corners of boxes and such. I know there are lots of similar packs made now. But they aren't in Newport. They are, however at Sportsmen's Warehouse or Dick's Sporting Goods in Salem. So we're going to fix Lulu up with a new pack. We also need some new crossword puzzle books (NY Times Sunday crossword collections), and a couple more editions of the Bathroom Reader. Now, lest you think that we spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on the pot, let me explain. When we went to the dentist last time he stressed the importance of brushing one's teeth for a really long time. He considered 2 minutes to be the minimum amount of time required and estimated that most people probably do close to 30-45 seconds even if they think they're going for 2 minutes. Well, 2 minutes is a long time to do nothing but brush. So, we've found that if we have something to read to occupy our minds, the time flies by, making it easy to get the requisite 2 minutes in. What better to read than The Bathroom Reader? Lots of short articles on a variety of subjects. As a matter of fact, I'm now brushing my teeth for 4 minutes, which is why I've burned through 2 editions of the Bathroom Reader already.
Other than those things, we need to make a trip to Costco for some items (coffee and butter) and to Home Depot for some other miscellaneous things plus we have to snag a couple things from Cody when she's not looking ( an ice tea spoon for dishing salsa out of the jar with out getting it all over you fingers, and a gravy ladle. "Hey Cody, what's that over there?" Yoink!
Well, that's about enough for today.