Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sailing on Utah Lake

Well, I got the catamaran out and took the youngest daughter and her husband sailing Saturday. He had not been, and I had repaired some bulkheads in the hulls and wanted to try it out. Ramona had things she was trying to do, and was happy to have me out of her hair. I had cleaned up the boat and set it up to rig more quickly. We arrived at the lake , and after paying 9 dollars to get in began to set up. It was the most difficult set up yet, worse than the first time. We lost the halyard up the mast, and I had to lower it again to get it, then tangled it up, tried to raise the main several times before succes, and in general messed about a lot before we got on the water. The wind had been flat, but picked up to a good 15 knot breeze. This means the boat really moved fast, but I still have a hard time tacking. Hannah and Corey came in swim suits, not a good move given this is still May. The water was refreshingly cool, and since there were good waves, kept coming throught the tramp on a regular basis. We sailed out for about an hour. I was hoping to see Bird Island, but the lake is high and I think it is under water. Then biological urges began to take over. There is a reason a toilet on a boat is called the head, and a reason catamarans under 20 feet do not have them. I was glad the wind kept up. We returned to the harbor in good time, and I rushed to the restroom. After finding relief, we struck the sails and derigged the boat. It was a great time, but was 10 p.m. before the trailer was back in the driveway. I slept a good 9 hours and am still recovering. Playing for a living is hard work!

The boat is in need of more maintenance. I bent the top of the mast, cracked one of the inspection covers, bent a chainplate, and need to lubricate several tings to make it work easier. Looks to be fun!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Is this living? maybe it is playing

As is noticeable, I have not posted in a while. There are reasons for this. I have been playing, or is it working?

I have a neighbor, a good man, and a nice guy who likes to make comments on my back yard. Much of it is in fun, at least I think it is. He has been asking about what i can do about the female siver maple tree in the back yard. It is large, or rather was. As a female tree it would dispense a lot of seeds around in the time of seed dispersal, and he always wanted me to control that. I told him I would have a talk with the tree about being so promiscuous, but I did not hold out much hope that I would have much influence. finally the time came. the tree was jsut too big to fit in amongst all the wires which travel overhead, and after curtailing the branches over several years, it got to looking something like a cauliflower on one leg. Not good. After discussion with the boss, we decided to take it down. I ringed the tree with a chainsaw to stop growth, and asked several companies for bids. When they came back as more than the cost of the last three cars I purchased, I decided to take it down myself.

I teid myself into some webbing, and had a rope to tie to the tree (always remember to not tie yourself to the part of the tree you are cutting off), and climbed up with a small electric chain saw. I was thirty feet in the air, trying to malke sure I did not drop large branches on the electrical lines, and cutting the branches in small enough sections that they did not take me with them as they went whooshing by under the influence of gravity. The neighbors came out to make sure I wasn't going to drop the the tree on them, and after some reassurance, returned to the safety of their home. Now I have a pile of wood blocks, some smaller brush and limbs, and a stump some four feet in diameter and ten feet high (I need some leverage to pull it over, hence the ten foot measurement).

The next day I was talking to my neighbor, and he let out that he was in charge of the stake's entry in the Freedom Festival this year. We had a lighthearted discussion about trees and which were trash trees and should be removed before they reached the 4,000 volt line, and he asked me what i was going to do with the "Titanic" (my 16 foot nacra catamaran) in the back yard. I told him I was going to sail it, of course! He then asked what I was going to do with the stump of the tree. After exploring the option to turn it into the main support structure for a log cabin, gazebo, or carve it into the shape of a bear lying on its' back with four paws in the air, we discussed ideas for the float. I told him it should be a nautical theme. After all, everyone who came to America (all of us non native types who did not come over the land bridge in the Bering sea during the last ice age when ocean levels were low enough to walk across the spit of land) came in a boat. Well, enough ideas came out that he elected me to be on the float committee. We now have a float base, a budget, a proposed design (nautical), and until July 3 to put it all together. There are some requirements for us to meet. One, it has to be patriotic (duh!). Two, it has to be religious. Three, it has to celebrate 80 year birthday of the Sharon Stake. Four, we have to involve as many members of the stake in construction as possible, and five, it needs to be good enough to win the competition and be invited to the 24th of July celebration in Salt Lake. Oh yes, it also has to be suitably solomn and be approved by the stake presidency before we do anything. This is just one of the three or four projects ( I will elucidate later) I have taken on. More updates tomorrow, if I remember.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Never going to school again

After going to school for many years (grade 29 by my calculations), I hit the wall with going to class and getting a grade. While I like learning, I neverf want to be graded again. I did get some grades which were influenced by my non politcally correct opinions. One class was "context of contemporary education", a mass whine by most of the educators in the class. 'we don't get paid enough, we don't get no respect, we work too hard for the amount we get paid, we have to buy our own equipment', etc. Now I want to be a teacher, and I have many family members who are teachers, but they do not whine. I feel like those teachers need to realize what the national average income is (less than $35,000 a year for more than 50% of the population), and not complain that they generally make $45,000 or more qafter 10 years. Even this doctorate means I will start around $50,000 or so. I would be better off working as an electrician, at least financially. If you maake the decision to go into a field you want that does not make a lot of money, don't complain when you don't make a lot of money!

So, My wife is going to school to get a masters' and then for a doctorate. So far, it looks like I will be doing much of the work and essentially getting a masters' degree in communication. I like learning the stuff, and I don't have to get the grade, so I guess it is the best of both worlds.

Well, we are going on a five day trip with the boys, I have been seconded to be the engineer and construction director for the Sharon stake Freedom Festival float, and I want to build a sailing dingy. We are going to tear up the yard and put it in xeriscape for low maintenance, while trying to develop an article for publication. I did get about 2 minutes of fame when I went to the Utah lake Commission public meeting. The D news and KSL reported I had said some things, positive anyway.

I will leave more for next time.

All feet are the same!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Youth campouts

This last week was an opportunity to go to Goblin Valley. I am an assistant scoutmaster of boys from 14 to 16. I have to say that although they are good kids, they know very little about being in the outdoors. Perhaps that is because they have no interest in being outdoors, just in playing video games and riding skateboards. This is unfortunate.

The day of the trip I called the scoutmaster to check on food. I was bringing instant oatmeal and tang, left over from other trips. He said "Oh, perhaps I had better get some milk and fruit fro breakfast." After agreeing that would be good, I found that of the three meals, two would be at fast food joints. Not a good tradition for survival situations. No fast food along the trail, as far as I know. it would be good for the boys to learn to cook outdoors and take ccare of themselve instead of depending on the leaders to not only provide the foosd buyt prepare it, serve it, and clean up after them. That is what happened. Of course, all I did was bring the food, boil water, and provide garbage containers.

The boys played capture the flag, and after some loud talk settled down about 11 p.m. At three a.m. one of the leaders came to me asking if we had a spare tent (I had four). It seems as if one of tthe younger scouts had an adverse reaction to the fast food, and suffered projectile eructation. sprayng himself and the other two boys liberally with the partially digested remnants of his meal. This was truly unfortunate. It was cold, he had to get his hair washed, the tent and three sleeping bags were unuseable, and we needed to get them all back to sleep. Luckily I had brought along three spare sleeping bags and the boys were redistributed in other tents. The tent was not salvageable, and was retired from use.

We traveled through Little wild Horse slot canyon the next day. A fun trip, but I needed to get the boots broken in a bit better next time. I used to carry a 60 pound pack for a total trail weight of about 240. I still have a trail weight of 240, but I can only carry a 20 pound pack now. It works on the hips, mostly.

I will post some pictures of the trip and other things as they come available.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Basics and definitions

Given the vast experience I have obtained sometimes painfully, I thought it would behoove me to tell you some of the things I learned and what I tell my kids.

First of all, definitions: (to be added as I remember them)
Experience: the things you learn by doing things wrong
Mature: old enough to know better, but still willing to have experience
Vast: I keep getting experience even when I am not looking for it

Things I tell my kids when they leave the house: ( all the kids are married and launched, but they still come over)

Stay between the white line on one side and the dashy line on the other side
Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down
Remember mass, momentum and inertia
Don't follow so close, don't drive so fast
No swerving and darting
I will buy your first car, (my choice) but you get to pay for maintenance and insurance

Other things which are good to know:
Righty tighty, lefty loosey
Always carry an emergency kit in the car
No texting while driving
If you can't remember the last five miles of road, stop and take a nap before you never see the next five miles
A cheater bar has many uses
When I tell you is time to change your timing belt, it is time to change your timing belt
Just because something costs more does not mean it is necessarily better
Unless it is unavoidable, try not to put new parts in used cars
If it was built by a man, it can probably be fixed by a man (or woman)
If it doesn't work, and you are told you need a new one rather than repairing the old one, you might as well take it apart and try to fix it yourself. You don't lose any money; after all they told you you needed a new one. If you fix it yourself, you learn something and it is much less expensive.
No matter how expensive the car is now, eventually it will end up in the junk yard. It is just a hunk of tin which you will replace. Treat it well so it will be serviceable, but don't worship it.

Things not related to cars:
Do work for others for free: they will be appreciative and will owe you.
Never expect to cash in those things you are owed.
Work for free or for full price. That way neither party will feel cheated.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A new doctorate in leisure!

I know, I know. Few people know you can get a doctorate in playing around. I didn't know until late in my college career. This required changing majors yet again years ago, and means I have been in school a lot. My kids tell me it is grade 29, but I finally did graduate after many years. Only if you are interested in the why it took so long will I even approach it.

There were many obstacles, and it seems the latest is the economic turndown worldwide. Wouldn't you know that right when I become "qualified" to teach in higher education and apply with full credentials to the 17 or 18 jobs posted that there is a hiring freeze affecting almost all the institutions? This means all of the desperate candidates concentrate on those few who did not freeze, and the few are inundated with applicants. Having been on hiring committees, I know the process is not so much selecting the right person as eliminating the ones who do not fit, at least in the first stages. Only then do you really start reading those resume's.

So, what to do??? There are other jobs available, but they would interfere with playing this summer. The academic job market advertizes a year in advance, so unless there is a change in heart among the frozen institutions, my next application season starts in August 2009. Nothing for it but to start my own business of playing! I have some ideas, perhaps too many, so I will try to narrow them down in the next few months and see which are feasible. Stay tuned if you are interested!