Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Very clever, ya wiseguys.

A vow of silence makes singing difficult, but not impossible.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sailing to Australia

During the summer of 2008 I posted an entry about two coworkers who were leaving on what I thought was a risky backpacking trip through the Brooks Mountain Range in Alaska's Arctic. I was relieved (if a bit embarrassed) when they both returned safely without having had any real trouble.

That was nothing! Now my friend Shawn is sailing from Long Beach to Australia in a 34-foot yacht. He has posted a couple lengthy sentimental blog entries about the trip, but the real action is going on at his Spot tracking site. At the moment he looks to be a couple hundred miles southwest of Ensenada, with about 9,000 miles in front of him.

I asked him what his longest journey thus far had been. He had sailed the 21 miles to Catalina Island a half-dozen times on days when the weather was nice.

Other facts:

-He has budgeted 9 months for the trip.
-He hasn't decided how he will return from Australia.
-His facebook relationship status is listed as "engaged".
-The yacht came with a bottle of champagne made especially for christening the yacht. That is, the captain and first mate drink some and then shatter the rest against the hull. The bottle reads "not for human consumption".
-The yacht carries, if I remember correctly, about 50 gallons of fresh water when its full.
-The yacht can travel about 300 miles using its fuel and engine if there's not enough wind to move them along.
-Besides the Spot tracker, the ship is equipped with an emergency beacon that will activate if submerged in water. It notifies the nearest Coast Guard, search and rescue, etc.
-There is a crew of three including Shawn.
-Shawn is worried about pirates.

Anyway, if you any of you could send a prayer or some positive energy or whatever his way, I have a feeling that he will use every bit of it.

Our mutual friend Tim on deck of The Enchantress en route to Catalina Island from Long Beach.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Newsletter 2009

Oh, hello again. Well I guess another year has passed. I am hesitant in writing a Christmas newsletter this year since not much has happened since last time, but I figure this will be easier than attending my ten-year high school reunion this summer. Which I don't think I'll do.
So here we go. One year ago, we were different people. Not really, of course, but I know in my own case there were some things that I have experienced that Past TR had no idea about. Here's just one example: a year ago I had never eaten at Red Lobster. But this year's Christmas letter is not about Red Lobster.
Let me back up a bit. I took a plane out to Reno for Thanksgiving last month. That's where my brother lives with his wife, two young children, a house, quite a few books, some comfortable furniture and a few other things. Not bad for a guy who is only two and half years older than me. He doesn't have his own accordion though.
Thanksgiving was nice. The food was as good as it has ever been and we went for a walk afterwards. The local University's radio station was even kind enough to play Alice's Restaurant without having to ask. It reminded me how I've still been meaning to get around to having my own family someday.
Actually, a lot of my aspirations haven't worked out this year. My several relationships didn't last, I didn't get into graduate school, and I am still working at the same non-benefited job I had more than three years ago. If I only had more initiative, I could probably already be on my second marriage and be working at a completely different dead-end job.
What else is new? I have taken to making sodas. Root beer, lemon lime, cola, grape, cherry, and ginger beer. Most people I give them to don't like them because they taste like yeast. If you want to try one let me know. You will probably hate it.
Wait! I think I know the problem with Christmas newsletters: Since we idealize the past, the current year never seems like it is as good as the other ones. But as I look back on this one I can already feel some of my good memories getting better and my bad ones disappearing entirely.
Here is one of my favorite jokes: A guy walks into a doctor's office wearing a suit and holding a briefcase. Pointing to the briefcase, he says “You gotta help me, Doc. I got this case of diarrhea!”
Sorry. Listen, I have that uneasy feeling again. Its the same one I got before I planned my five-week trip to Europe in 2005, before I quit my job for no good reason in 2007, and before I decided to move to Alaska for five months in 2008. Those have all been good decisions, by the way. So I think another good decision is just around the corner. I can't wait to see what it will be and the anticipation is killing me. It's a lot like waiting for Christmas.



Wednesday, December 09, 2009