Monday, February 28, 2005

Home again, home again...

A good weekend, even with the weather. Laurel and Andy came back from India on Wednesday, and Meredith and I got to see them a bunch this weekend. On friday night there was a closing party for an art show at Atlas Cafe. Laurel got to see how fat our dog got while she was away, and we got to see how skinny they got in India. Must bake them pie. On Saturday I went back down to the city to deliver Laurel's motorcycle and she, Andy and I went and got lunch and chatted about India, work, and their upcoming schedule. Then on Sunday they came up to P-town and we went out to the Tea Room for breakfast and wandered around downtown looking at the Heart on Fire show at Boomerang, and delivering presents from India to Heidi. Then I showed them Edith (who's in the middle of some structural upgrades so she's all torn apart). The rain and cold had gotten to them (they've spent the last 7 months in hot-humid India) so they dropped me off at home and went on their merry way. I went up to Meredith's and we had a nice quiet evening of naps, food, and snoozily watching some TV.

Welcome home Laurel & Andy! It's good to have you back.

Friday, February 25, 2005


File this under map-geekery, and cool-tools via the internet. For all of you who have read "Snow Crash" and dreamed about the metaverse tool "Earth" the internet has taken a step closer to that idea. (In the book, "Earth" was a global mapping app that you could use like a desktop globe but all the imagery was near realtime video from satelites). Keyhole ( approaches that ideal with a computerized desktop globe app where all the info comes from either Landsat (low-res) or hi-res (1-2ft per pixel) imagery. But what makes it particularly neato, is that you can check out other people's placemarkers which may be there to point out weird patterns in the mohave, or advertise a certain club. The problem is that it costs money, but check out the 7-day trial. It's really cool.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Nice Weekend

After a harrowing week of lung infections, and the worst migrane of my life, Meredith surprised me with a nights stay in the Hotel La Rose. She'd had a hard week as well and decided that what we needed was to get away from our housework, and daily routine to lounge around in bed and watch cable, and take naps. It was exactly what I needed. The hotel is really quite nice. Nice rooms, comfy bed, awesome shower. The decor was a little too grandmotherly, but the view was great. We were in the 'old' building (the big stone one) on the third floor and our room fronted on Railroad Square so we could see A'romas and Flying Goat simulataneously. We indulged in room service for dinner (which was very tasty) and got irate at the lame offerings that TV had for us. Neither of us has cable at home, so we were in for a little bit of culture shock. Did you know that Flava Flave and Brigette Neilsen are dating? And that she calls him "foofy-foof"?! Man it was messed up. I mean, I'm glad they've found happiness and all, but seriously: Foofy-foof?! Arg.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Lungs and bugs

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I've been sick with a bacterial lung infection all week. Think of it as pre-pneumonia. On top of that I had the worst migraine of my life for 3.5 days. I got to spend two afternoons in the ER (one for each malady) but the good news is that I'm not dying, and after today I should no longer be contagious.

Of course after all of that, I haven't done a thing towards becoming a non-profit, or fixing Edith, or my car. But I did go to a great art opening at Boomerang in Petaluma. There's some good stuff up (including two of Meredith's pieces, but you can't have them, they sold already) and it's worth checking out.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Front quarter of a Motor Surf Boat. The USCG pictures of these things going through the surf in Oregon are crazy. Just crazy.

Ok, enough with the pipe dream. Here's a realistic boat. This is about what our boat would look like, if we can get it. Except it's gonna have tires for fenders, not white things.

the General is the stained one in the middle. The Edith E's cabin roof is shorter than the front of that boat. The good? Almost all the staining is from iron plating on the rub rails, which may mean bronze fastings. the bad? the paint is coming off the bottom and WOULD YOU LOOK AT HOW BIG THAT THING IS?!? Sorry..sorry. I'm better now.

Mmm...smelly old boat.

Rear deck and fishing stuff. Good points: Deck still has crown, and no missing boards. Seams look reasonable too. Bad? Giant rusty pieces of fishing gear.

The General Pershing

Boat #2 begins to take shape...

Ok, this won't become only an old boat blog, but as you can imagine, I've had boats on my mind nearly non-stop since last weekend when we discovered Edith's terrible secret. To that end, Gary and I went boat shopping today. Let me back up a bit.

We got Edith from Hedley the Wharfinger at Fisherman's Wharf in SF. After last weekend we started negotiotiations with Cap'n Ed down the way on some rancid boats he knew about. That whole scene down river turns out to be the wrong tree to be barking up. Like last time, I started up my zen-like patience and knew that the right boat would fall into our hands, and all the weirdness, and struggle at Ed's were indicative of a bad plan.

So what to do? Call Hedley up of course. He provided for us once (to all our happiness) , why not a second time? And Hedley has a boat for us! Except this time it's a 'vessel'
The H/V General Pershing. It's a 60' wooden offshore trawler (Sardines I think), and it needs a new home. The owner sold off the licence and got the Bay Area Air Quality District to buy him a new $30k motor. And now it's an albatross for him because he can't fish it, and fishermen as a rule don't bother with boats unless they are catching fish. So Hedley said: Come on down, you've got to see it. And today we did.

It's a beast. Beguiling, and dangerously tempting, but a beast. We've decided that two things have to be met before we even begin to think about it seriously: That we have a berth down there at the historic rate ($1 a foot) and that we get a full inspection. Those criteria being met, we move to phase two. Which just might be giant boat ownership. But probably not. Because it's a handful. But it is very soundly built, was fishing commercially as recently as 2002, and starred in the film "Captain Couregeous" which netted Spencer Tracy his second Oscar.

Since we were out and about, we decided to go looking for unloved, unused, free boats. We visited several marinas in Marin, and Sonoma County almost without luck, until we stopped by one of my favorites: San Rafael harbor. This place has the requisite 'beat-up pickup to uv-damaged-blue-tarp' ratio that we need for our kind of boat. We poked around and talked to the harbor master who showed us a very nice (theoretically) 27' sailboat for far under it's open market asking price. Gary might bite the bullet on that one and become his nemisis: a sailor. I'm tempted, but I prefer to maintain the ethic of getting these things for free. After talking to the harbor master again and explaining that really what we wanted was something to clean water ways up with, he was impressed and took up to see what I dearly hope will become boat #2. It's a 26' ex-coast guard surf boat. 26' is key for insurance reasons, and ex-surf boat means (and I have done the research to back this up) nearly impossible to sink. Also, good load carrying and stoutly built. Above is a picture of a nearly identical surf boat that was tied up in sausalito. "Ours" is not in such good shape (needs paint and an engine), but the harbor master was more than happy to let up work on it at the yard there because of our altruistic goal. Sweet. Now we just have to convince the owner that he needs to give it to us (which is very possible according to the harbor master). I'll keep you all posted.

PS. If I become the hapless owner of the General Pershing, you'll understand why I'm always filthy and smell like diesel right?