luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (bluescreen)
( Nov. 12th, 2008 08:22 am)
Back in the early millenium, the common analogy was that someone had moved our cheese.

The analogy being that we are all rats in a maze. And that we actually like cheese.

These days, I think the analogy is that the cheese has been removed and replaced with a hungry cat. And the scientists can be overheard musing "Hey! lets set the maze on fire!, then it becomes a deadly race where the rat has to evade the cat, right up to the moment the cat expires, and then has to find the cat and clamber over its body to escape being burned alive!"

I lay awake some nights trying to figure out if I should be looking for cheese, evading the cat, or stalking the cat in hopes it will provide some means of escape from the whole mess.

The cheese in my case is a bigger boat. Which would make mon_chou happy. The cat is the spectre of job loss. The burning maze is the specter of wholesale economic collapse and the Canadian dollar becoming another Peso. The escape being finally leaving on the boat.
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luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (BWTROLL)
( Nov. 10th, 2008 11:18 am)
I have been in Ottawa last week. Working on the Impertinent a bit. Managed to remove the engine in preparation for replacing the prop shaft. It is going to be a real bitch removing the propeller. I managed to smite my thumb with a ball peen hammer already in the process. Now it looks like I will have to build a custom prop-puller to remove the frickin thing.

In other news, there is a boat in Toronto [livejournal.com profile] mon_chou  and I have taken an interest in. At present my interest is tempered by an attempt to learn about how it is ballasted - it may or may not have proper ballast in it. If it is water-and-fuel ballasted, its a dealbreaker as I am really not interested in having a boat that has no ballast once the fuel and water is used up. That could happen 3/4 way across the Pacific - and then a storm hits and flips you over, and you stay over because there isnt enough weight to provide negative stability inverted. No thanks. Of course, if it is weighted down, it is an awesome island cruiser. I am still kind of pining for a Bruce Roberts 43 design, but they are rare as hens teeth under 80K. And I am not keen on taking on another project boat.

I am working on brewing up some butter chicken for [livejournal.com profile] ladychadwick to aid her in her recovery after some doctors attempted to repair her spine. Hopefully we will have some yummy curryness this Tuesday, elbow grease  and customers willing.

We are also thinking of doing a road trip this Xmas season. Puttering the VW south starting about 26 December and returning 6 January or so. Might be an adventure.




luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (blegh)
( Nov. 5th, 2008 12:44 pm)
I am happy for Obama. I really am. But one has to remember that a scary monster with a new brain is still a scary monster. George Bush is al all around nice guy. In person. Many leaders are. I would have no issues with having lunch with GWB or Mr. Obama. They arent the guys who creep me out. The guys who creep me out are the guys in the back rooms who actually run most of the stuff, and who will say to Obama - yes sir, this is ugly but it has to happen for national interests. And so Obama will do what has to be done, and horrible shit will still happen.

Mostly I am peeved because I learned that the Ilois finally lost their case against the British government for a right to return home to their islands. They had consitently won every court case in this regard - and the government had consistently overruled the rulings. Finally the case went to the house of law lords, who granted the government the right to screw the people in the interest of national security.

Why were the Ilois kicked off of their homes? To make way for a US base in the 60s, so that bombers and troop ships are always just a few hours away from the persian gulf.

To be fair, many of the Ilois were being represented by Resort hotel interests - the pristine Chagos archipelago would likely have become a big resort with all the evils that brings. If they had ultimately won.

In actual fact, this probably bodes better for me as a sailing cruiser - the lawsuit finally cleared - limitations on cruisers visiting the rest of the islands (aside from Diego Garcia) will likely lighten and return to the "good old days" from sailing perspectives - when the uninhabited islands are a crown jewel in the destinations of cruisers who want to escape the world. But it just dosent feel right having a cruising destination that is empty of people, because just to the South a fleet of bombers and warships perpetually enforces it that way.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (Default)
( Nov. 1st, 2008 09:24 am)
Ugh, winter.

I have been enjoying the lake effect weather of Toronto, I forgot that Ottawa is already in the grip of subzero weather.


I found myself composing a song to the tune of "Knights in white satin" by the moody blues - except the main lyric changed to "I fucking hate winter" - etc. etc.

Not a bad melody to vent about freezing.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (beaker)
( Oct. 30th, 2008 03:15 pm)
Today I feel like that old Sesame Street character known as "Don Music"  - the one who would get frustrated and bang his head on the keyboard of his piano.

Yes. Today I would do that but for the fear of breaking my laptop.

Just before bedtime my worries about the stream of water coming in via the prop-shaft reached critical mass. [livejournal.com profile] mon_chou  figured it might be better to check things on Impertinent, so we drove to the boat and checked the bilges.
Im kinda glad I did.

Midnight mechanics and early morning SCUBA foloow. )

So, another frustration and another adventure.

luckytroll: Smurf Village Bombed (smurfs)
( Oct. 16th, 2008 05:34 pm)
Damn. Was backing out of the slip to do the demasting of impertinent. Obviously one of the messenger lines was being dragged, and I wrapped the whole Med mooring pair of docklines. The engine stopped dead.

Now I have a trickle of water coming out of the really-not-moveable propshaft stuffing box. 
The flexible shaft coupling didnt break its shear-pins, so either it failed to do its job, or things stopped gently enough that I hope the engine and transmission arent crunched. In any case, the tranny shift is jammed - which dosent bode well.

Getting the diving gear to do a splash-n-slice tomorrow to free the beastie. Hoping all I need to do to slow the gentle trickle from the stuffing box is to tighten the packing gland a touch.

I still need to demast - and get myself properly moored at the stern. Right now I am rafted a bit with the upwind boat, to take the load off of the prop which is acting as a mooring cleat at the moment.

Damn these gusty winds! 

In happier news, I have a nice diving knife and 5.5mil full wetsuit I will get to try tomorrow. Too bad its on a dive that has a depth of about 3 feet, and a bottom time of hopefully less than an hour.

I am Sooooo pissed at myself right now. Another three feet and I could have hit the reverse - I was just jumping the gun because the gusting wind was about to push us into another boat and I wanted to jet clear. Bugger.
Are there parallels between the modern corporation and the Roman Legions? 
Both appear to be a means of generating or acquiring wealth and status for leaders.
Comparing modern armies to legions seems too easy and too dissimilar a match - aside from the obvious military natures, the looting and slave capture aspect of a legion seems more important than the political leverage angle which is obviously still shared.

In an age where we also understand ideas to be memes, do we dare let a free market for ideas exist - when some of those ideas may of their own accord become dangerously prolific or dominant, regardless of our own better interests? Are some memes too dangerous to not be supressed?  I have a sexy attraction to dangerous ideas. I also have a curiosity as to whether some ideas are impossible for the human mind to formulate because of the very structure of the human mind itself. Could we build a computer program that can work out these lacunae? Would we feel compelled to destroy the computer when it presented them to us? Or would we just write the output off as gibberish.

I would probably start by having the system analyse the outer fringes of human distaste, and then moving beyond them somehow. Again, when you are a machine looking for something that cannot be brought into existence by your makers, it presents interesting problems. Especiially if you are being asked to determine a piece of information which in all likelyhood will be unrecognizeable to those expecting you to find it. Note that I am distinguishing "unthinkable" from an idea which is merely "not thought yet" or a fact that has not been discovered or understood - but could be someday using the brains we are equipped with.

We often say that some villain has done the "unthinkable" - but the fact that we transmit this information and the fact that the villain did it is an exercise in thinking about it. So it isnt unthinkable. It is merely distasteful. You can find many ideas an aomeba will never grasp. To am aomeba "too salty" might be a distasteful idea. General relativity might be beyond its grasp.

To us, "nuclear holocaust", or even something as simple as "Delicious shit" are distasteful or discordant ideas. Will we need to evolve or build machines to come up with something beyond and in the true sense of the word "unthinkable" .
So the election is done here in Snowviet Canuckistan - and I cannot say I am terribly disappointed with the outcome.

In realistic terms, my ambitions for the election were
1. More seats for the NDP
2. Horrible doom for the BQ
3. More votes for the greens. Maybe even a seat.
4. Get rid of Stephane Dion and try again with the whole Liberal leadership thing, this time with fewer cronies.
5. NO conservative majority.


So I mostly got what I wanted - it was conflicting. I want the BQ to crash and burn so horribly that they take the PQ down with them. But the cost of that would be giving seats to someone else - and the NDP arent taking seats in QC yet, so Im not too unhappy that the seats BQ gave up were split between the cons and the libs. For now.

The NDP got more seats, I think. All good.

The greens got a lot more exposure, and the schizophrenic platform of older days seems toned down. Also boding well for the future.

And the Cons didnt get a majority, which means perhaps they will be careful before screwing people over with their DMCA copyright BS.

And now we will likely get another Liberal leader. I think all the attractive possibilities sat out the last leadership convention in liberalland. I suspect it was because they knew that the Liberals would be sitting in opposition for quite a while. At first, I was rooting for Gerard Kennedy, but after looking at all the candidates in more detail - I realize in retrospect that I found them all pretty reprehensible. Dion was the best of a really icky lot. Cant they do better? 

Out of the last lot.

Scott Brison: Openly gay - awesome! Former conservative and floor crossing creep. Not so awesome.
Ken Dryden - Hockey Jocks ruling the country? Fuck that noise.
Mike Ignatief - Mr. Lets go to war has lived too long among the Yanks. Sorry.
Gerard Kennedy - I liked him until I found out he was formerly in deep with the McGuilty ontario Liberals. Ick.
Bob Rae - Sorry Bob - you already got a turn at the levers of power. And as an NDP - which makes you another floor crossing opportunist.
Joe Volpe - Creepy slimy bastard.
Which leaves one person - Martha Hall Findlay

I think I am beginning to like Martha. She understands Tech. She can speak both languages. Perhaps she will get on the leadership race again?

So aside from the Cons getting more seats than I had wanted, It was probably for the best in order to hurt the BQ and keep the liberals from having to keep Dion any longer.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (Default)
( Oct. 9th, 2008 12:17 pm)
Article has been removed at the request of company.
I am making a basic assumption here. You are not rich.

Rich, for the purposes of this discussion is someone who was born or inherited wealth. Wealth being enough money that you pay more attention to your portfolio than your job. Wealth being you have more than 50Kilobucks in the bank, excluding your retirement savings RRSPs, and 401K type things.

For the damned - you are decided anyhow on a boat.

The decision comes down to a three way race. Rock, paper, Scissors, or plastic. Also known as Ferro, wood, metal, or plastic.

Fibreglass actually has very little to do with glass fibres these days, and everything to do with plastic, so it is labelled thus.

Metal boats come in aluminum, and steel. You will likely see more steel than Al. Steel rusts. Mild steel rusts lots. Paint is key. Rust can be painted over.

Ferro cement boats are basically the bones of a steel boat dressed up kinky in chicken-wire, and then covered in mud to keep the water out. Eventually the mud cracks when you run into something. If you are lucky it cracks a little and you have to add more mud before the chickens escape through the rusty wire. If you are unlucky, the whole thing cracks like an egg and you end up with an 4x10^3 gallon enema as you flee your boat as it dives like a frightened U boat.

Don't bother with fancy electronics. Electronics rot in salt. Even if you buy them and keep them in a pelican case, technology has a shelf life slightly better than wax coated old cheddar. Slightly. Even a GPS will eventually lose its mind, and be unable to understand the babble of the new GPS birds up there. Firmware only gets you so far. Then it becomes unfirmware. Sextants never lose their charm, just their alignment and the silvering on the mirrors.

Books are your friends, but if you read too many of them, you will get it into your head that preparation is key to going to sea. Preparation is important to surviving when you are at sea. But the key thing to going to sea is simply going. There are some incredibly prepared people out there who will never get to sea. In the end they are as sad as the people who are perpetually prepared for the apocalypse. Although the people preparing for the apocalypse probably never had to choose sea anchors.

Small is beautiful. So is ugly. So is cheap. You will have more fun on an ugly, cheap, small boat than you ever will on a large, pretty, expensive one. Unless you are rich and can afford both the large pretty expensive boat. But in this case, you probably need therapy to get over the alienation of being obscenely rich, and the nervousness that comes with the unwavering certainty that people like me resent you a lot.

Shop carefully for a boat. It is a lot like getting that legendary uber-cheap first class upgraded airline seat. If you are hasty, you will wind up spending years worth of your salary on the wrong boat - while some bastard two weeks later will find a prettier, bigger, and more seaworthy beast for less than you would pay for a nice canoe.

Be wary of boat engines that look grungy, or look old. Grungy engines are unloved, and probably abused. They will likely take it out on you when they get a chance. Or they will commit suicide. Old engines are likely very reliable, owing to their existence till now. But finding parts may be more difficult than reaching a software developer through a support helpdesk at Symantec.

Headroom can be important. Damage to the prefrontal cortex has been shown to be a high risk factor for homelessness and voting conservative. You will likely be close enough to being homeless as it is, living on a boat. The exception to this rule is the Contessa 26, especially if you are short.

Anchors are your friends. If people laugh at you because your anchors are so damn huge, and your bow is nearly awash because you have so much chain and rode in it - then you might have nearly enough ground tackle to sail where there is coral.

Anchors can take on many shapes and sizes. Not all of them are metal. Some of them look shockingly like all the stuff in your house. Some anchors pay you money every month. Others kiss you goodnight when you go to sleep. Some of them you can haul onto the boat, and others you have to let go.

Carrying an outboard motor on a bicycle is hard. But so is eating a hamburger on a bicycle while riding one-handed down railroad-tracks.

I have done one of the above. Guess which one?

Hard dinghies look more stable than inflatables. Yeah right. But they row nicely.

My name is LuckyTroll, and I am a boat owner.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (bluescreen)
( Oct. 7th, 2008 12:31 pm)
Home for now.
Feeling like one of those ducks that gets left behind at migration day.
Just want to go, head south. But "can't" yet.

I feel like the promise of freedom and enjoyment that the trip was all about has become yet another avenue into propagating the rat-race. Instead of going South, living a bohemian lifestyle and seeing the world, I am staying North - earning more money in order to afford a bigger boat so that my wife can feel comfortable raising children on it.

In retrospect, I should have cashed in my Tanzer 7.5 at 8.5K, bought a Contessa 26 for about 10K, and departed once I had it outfitted and enough food cash saved up. I would have been done my trip by now, actually. Instead I made an educational mistake and blew 90K on a boat that I may never actually get to leave Ottawa with. A boat that everyone now seems to think is too small.

It makes me wonder if I am not just suffering the whole leaving phobia. I keep finding really good excuses not to just go. At one point - insufficient boat, or insufficient cash. Now I have adopted a really novel one - a wife. As far as boating goes, that one is more often than not a complete smack-down when it comes to the boating aspirations of men.

Will this trip ever happen? Or will I just get another boat, and find myself working for years again to afford a lifestyle that will ever be just out of reach.

The sad truth is that the only way I am going to leave is to just leave. To put Impertinent on a truck instead of her cradle, and bugger off. But as long as I want to maintain a marriage, and allow for everyone elses dreams and standards - this wont happen. I begin to suspect that I have forgotten what it is like to live my own life.

It is frustrating in that slow-cooker kind of way that leads to running amok, or perhaps just taking a walk with your wallet and ID left behind permanently on some table. In reality, I will probably just douse the feelings by adopting a video game and 420 lifestyle that dulls the senses and amuses the mind enough to pass yet another winter.
Looks like I may be spending next week, and most of November and December in Toronto.

In other funniness, here is a statement that sums up the state of our lab. Overheard in a meeting.

Eng1: "We are going to need a new server soon to replace the V240, its starting to fail"
Eng2: " Is that the server that caught on fire a little while ago?"
Eng1" "That's the one"
Eng2: "Apparently we have a different definition of "Starting to fail than some parts of the industry"

Seriously folks. When the server sets off the smoke alarms, and you have to clean the scorch marks of of components, perhaps its time to throw in the towel and admit perhaps you should get another one. Or you could clean it up, put it back in service, and wait for it to start to lose data.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (funk)
( Sep. 27th, 2008 08:13 pm)
Its nice to be home and not eating out of restaraunts. Cooked for a sauce for the Chou.

It turned out quite nice.



Mushroom sauce


Butter Melted in saucepan
fry about 1 small onion until caramelized, darkening, soft.
add a little more butter and heat, add a little flour and cook until a roux forms that is almost the colour of the onions.
Add a handful of sliced mushrooms saute a bit to get them reduced a bit.
Add a couple tablespoons of pesto.
Add a half bottle of white wine. Reduce to a simmer.
Chop a tomato and add, as well as some more mushrooms.
simmer a bit. I added a little rosemary,black pepper ground, turmeric to fill out flavors.
add the rest of the mushrooms and add sugar and salt to taste.
Near the end, stir in a couple tablespoons of cream cheese or cream.
Touch up with salt and pepper flakes to taste.

Serve over buckwheat pasta.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (floatinbg)
( Sep. 27th, 2008 05:13 pm)
Tired this weekend. Perhaps only one partial week left in this phase of the project I have been working on in Toronto, then I get to spend a lot of time writing documentation. Fun. Looks like the rest of the project kicks off in late October, which will likely put me out of the running for the big project in Ottawa I was looking forward to. Bummeur. Probably this means I will be doing more Toronto after I am finished this current bout of .... Toronto.

In other news, I should know next Thursday whether a German dude is going to buy that boat in the Caribbean that I had an interest in. If he passes on it, decides not to buy it, runs out of cash, or shrugs off his mortal coil by Thursday at 5, I am still in the running to go see the thing and perhaps buy it. Otherwise, nada.

I looked at another steel boat this week - a really interesting but expensive one in Toronto. It is nice on paper, but the electronics systems are beginning to show their age, and the layout is not exactly one I would choose for raising a family on - at least a family that wanted rooms for kids. On the other hand, as a floating appartment that can go anywhere in comfort and safety - it has a lot of potential. Too bad about the price. Even talking it down nearly 20% I would be extending my departure by about a year. On the plus side, Mon_chou might benefit from another 6 months to a year to finish the Phd. Less pressure can make everyone happier - and I dont need to worry about delivery - just selling the impertinent for some reasonable sum.

This weekend is a de-stress weekend though, and a chance to catch up on laundry and sleep. I have no idea how dagibbs does it. It seems bearable the first couple weeks, but goes downhill rapidly after about a month abroad. Im at about a month abroad now.

I wonder if brokers are responsible for collecting the tax on boats they broker the sale of, or if it is left up to me when I register/license the boat? Theres no tax in the BVIs, per se - but it becomes a real impediment to commerce in Snowviet Canuckistan.
The boat we are interested in buying is being looked at by a German - I will know if he will get the boat, after he looks at it Oct 2, or If chou and I can go look at it and maybe buy it Oct. 3.

So its all out of my hands for the time being. Pity. I was looking forward to having an aft cabin with a berth big enough for 2.

I suspect the deal is a loss.  Back to impertinent. At least the boat we have is sturdy and game.

So Mad as this may sound, Mon_chou and I are going South for a weekend in October to look at a Bruce Roberts 43. A bigger boat.

They say you should do something every day that scares you a little.
Well, I am obviously catching up now......

If we get this boat
- Will I be able to sell the Impertinent for a decent $?
- How hard will the registration be in the Carribeean
- How am I going to find work to bring it back to Mainland North America?
- How am I going to get it to YOW, or should I even bother?
- How will I find the time off work to do this?
- how much more work-slavery will this increased investment cost me?
- How much work will the new boat take to get it up to my specs?

Much will be answered when we go to look. Having enough space to grow, and to have people aboard as crew is key. My main concerns are getting boats moved or sold.


 


luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (ECU)
( Sep. 6th, 2008 08:33 am)
It all started with discussions about children. Kids start off small, but they take up exponentially more space as they grow up.

Impertinent is a big boat, but because of her narrow beam and overhangs - that which makes her graceful also makes her rather cramped. Lots of spave for 1. OK space for two and a pet. Perhaps even for two and an infant. Too small for two and a kid or more.

Mon_chou wants kids, and is willing to raise them aboard. 

So I started looking at boat ads just to see what whas out there. We found a candidate. Now I am thinking of upgrading before I have even left!

The potential bigger boat is a Bruce Roberts Mauritius 43. Roomy, seaworthy, steel.

Its affordable, outfitted with a lot of gear I will need for impertinent anyway - and its in the BVIs.

What to do?  Its eating me.

I feel already like I am cheating on Impertinent. Im already thinking of flying down to look at the new boat.

U.S. 'stands in solidarity with people of Georgia': Cheney

Especially those people who are negotiating to build an oil and gas pipeline that allows oil to flow around instead of through Russia.

See yesterdays Globe and Mail (WSJ B10  "US Tries to salvage pipeline projects") 

I am beginning to love the business section. Not because I am in business, but because of the bald truths that get told about politics when they are trying to explain something about business. When you see a politician going on a trip - the front page gets him waving but the B section explains what he is signing, and why.





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luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (madscientist)
( Sep. 3rd, 2008 09:09 pm)
Just set a restaraunt on fire.

They put it out though.


It was inveitable. Nice candle on the table top. Ambiance.  Hand me a newspaper to read between courses.

The funniest thing was that I didnt even notice that my newspaper was on fire until it started eating the section I was reading near the middle.

Scratch that - Now that I think about it, I didnt notice it at all - the waiter grabbed it out of my annoyed hands and ran away with it - thats when I realized it was on fire.

Now I may never know how Cheney is planning on getting oil out of The lands of 'stan and into Europe via the Caucuses. Apparently it is a big deal. Sounds kinda like Afghanistan.

The hostess was glad that neigher her book nor her hair had caught fire. I agreed that if I were to start another one, I would try to do the book first. She looked a bit disturbed at that comment. Perhaps it came out wrong.

I didnt bother staying for dessert. People were commenting about how the restaraunt reminded them of camping. Perhaps I should have ordered Smores.

Two more days.
.

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