Friday, December 30, 2011

Idle thoughts to help with your New Years diet

I'm here in pre-caffeinated haze and it just occurred to me that doughnuts are literally dough-nuts...

Who came up with that name, and was it on purpose?!??! Was someone dropping globs of dough into hot oil and said "Hey those look kinda like my nuts" Cause if that's how it happened and it actually stuck that's awesome!

Ewwww. *repulsed look* So gross.

Luck on my front doorstep

Plus 10 outside and everyone is confused

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa really does exist!

After tracking the progress of my friend and co-worker through the trials and tribulations of the amateur radio course, I think I was almost as excited as he was when he passed the test!

I then waited with bated breath for his callsign to be really for real official. Just so that we would be one step closer to being ready for the zombie apocalypse. Really that's just a nice way of making it sound way cooler than what it actually is, which is being *more* nerdy than we already are, like +5 to Intelligence nerdy.

Back to Santa, but I'll let him tell the tale of "All I want for Christmas is my HAM Radio Callsign" and believe me it's well worth the read *smiles*

Falling behind...

I want to caption it "no caption necessary" but that would be contradictory. Enjoy ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chicken soup for the soul

Many people have passed through my life leaving fingerprints on the window to my soul.

Along the way many of them attempted to teach me how to cook, and to their credit they all succeeded in one manner or another... I think the most important thing they left me with though weren't various recipes, but the yearning desire to learn... and that sometimes you have to try it again... and again... and sometimes one more time before you just go buy a damn rice cooker. They're cheap like borsch now.

I also learned from one friend, that when she's lonely, or when she needs people around that love her, she cooks... and not just a little bit, like we're talking a turkey as big as she is (at a mere 4'2).

I'm proud to say in the last few years I've formed a special connection with a few people in my life who cook. I wish there was a more eloquent word than cook though, because there are people who 'cook' mac and cheese every day for lunch *ahem* (I had a roommate like that) And then there are people who are honestly excited. Like we're talking wriggle inside their skin excited about cooking. People who have had their fair share of *oops* it definitely wasn't supposed to turn out like that!!! and know when to use their hamburgers as hockey pucks and order pizza... or dust off that box of mac 'n cheese.

So while I'm still barely above the caveman level of charred writing implement survival cooking, I appreciate sharing my minor triumphs and moments of win with others who have been so encouraging. Tonight I would like to present chicken soup... one part home made broth, one part abstract chicken cube and all the rest hearty fresh and frozen vegetables. *whispers* I did cheat a little bit though... I started with a cooked chicken from Superstore. Whoever came up with those things is brilliant!


*slurps* Well it certainly doesn't taste like Grandpa used to make it... *raises eyebrows* but it is pretty good!

I'd also like to thank My Kim for supervising the kosher induced salinity levels, it definitely wouldn't have been the same without you. You are most welcome in my kitchen :)

Hmmm this started as just a little "look I made soup"... but I guess there so many letters stuck in my head they started leaking out my fingertips!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas creativity


Half an hour to write a Christmas card... at this rate times (16+18) I should be finished in 17 hours as long as I don't eat, sleep or allow for any ablutions... effluvium.

Yes thank you auto correct that is totally what I meant. Heh.
1. The ritual washing of a priest's hands or of sacred vessels.
2. [South African] A toilet that is available to the public.
So why is it taking so long? Well, earlier this year I had this bright idea that I wanted to learn calligraphy... the art of herding coloured water with a stick, and making it look perfectly organized and flowingly natural at the same time. Then my best friend found me an intro kit at a garage sale!

And what better way to practice my letters, and show my Christmas love than using it in cards? So, if I don't get ink poisoning, or a fatal hand cramp... and I actually get them down to the post office, and you get one you should feel very special. If you don't get one don't take it personally, I still love you... I just ran out of motivation.

*whips head around* Wanna go ride bikes?!?!

Do the time warp!

I think there's a temporal anomaly around Christmas... kind of like a worm hole, because I was doing great, I had lots of time to prepare and then all of a sudden BOOM it's nearly Christmas! When did that happen?!?

In other anomaly news, I totally got someone elses's breakfast sandwich this morning... *frowns* and no I don't want to correct to Elsey's, how on earth are you supposed to spell that?!?! Anyways Aaren got to listen to my full range of emotions...

Bagel?!? I didn't order a bagel!
Oh maybe they ran out of homestyle biscuits, well as long as there's tomato in it... *peeks inside*
Hmmm nope, damn... definitely got somebody else's breakfast
Oooh cheese bagel... and red pepper? Do they even make a cheese and red pepper bagel?

Maybe it's sundried tomato, that's almost like regular tomato...
Mmmmm this is actually pretty good :)

How am I supposed to order this again? "Hi, I'd like the same order you messed mine up with yesterday, yeah it was really good."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Super green!

I just made my first local contact through the Silverstar repeater on my own radio all by myself *vibrating* and while it isn't the first time I've been on the air, it is the first time it wasn't set up by someone else... and now I know I've got the repeater set up properly!

I guess it kind of feels like it's my official first time *grins*

Thursday, December 15, 2011

November echo to the Romeo delta


It's way past my bedtime and I'm totally turning into a pumpkin, but I just got back from a NORAC meeting (local HAM radio club) and it was soooo cool! I reluctantly dragged myself out there after taekwondo figuring I should try and make it to at least one meeting this year and I'm so glad I did!

Nerds: People who get excited about doing something... because they can. 

These are my people.

One of the guys is reading up on antenna theory so he can build his own, another guy was talking about boosting the signal on a cheap helicopter so he could re-attach an anchor line to the top of his antenna without taking it down... and the coolest part of it all is just talking to people who are interested in learning new things.

I've noticed something... It doesn't matter what subject someone is talking about... if they are really honestly excited about it, it automatically gains at least +5 points of being way more interesting than in school.

I don't know if this is my 'something' that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning, but it is certainly something that has piqued my curiosity and captured my interest *grins*

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it nice where you are?

A girl I know was just telling me, that as her grandmother was getting older she started to forget things... and as the story goes, she'd just had a biopsy done and called to get the results... saying:
"Hi this is ___, and I'm calling to get the results of my autopsy?"
There was a pause on the line... and they managed to get her all sorted out, during which I'm sure that the receptionist must have employed every ounce of self-discipline to not giggle, even a little bit.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

S'not a small town

Last week I had one of those mornings, where I hadn't decided what kind of day I was going to have yet... and my coffee got on the wrong bus, and took the long way to work.

It started when I opened my car to find it unlocked with my wallet on my seat, *squints* where I don't think I left you? glove box open, and a couple CD's on the floor... which is definitely not where I left you.

But as far as I can tell... I'm missing $20 and negligible amounts of change. Obviously someone felt that they needed it more than I did... and in the grand scheme of things really I'm okay with that, because I really appreciate that they left my pretty wallet, with all my credit cards, my certifications, and my license and didn't break any of my windows.

Which probably means I left it unlocked? I'm so not sure now. The weird part is I don't even really feel that upset about it, *shrugs* I mean I should right? Someone went into my car and rifled through my stuff. But they didn't leave a huge mess, or break anything... and really, it could have been so much worse.

Do you have any idea what a rigamarole it is to get your license replaced when all the supporting documentation you need to get it is in your wallet... and you need some kind of picture id (such as a license) to get everything else that was in your wallet replaced?

Do you see the infinite loop here?!?!?

I will gladly pay the $20 "I'm an idiot tax" to not have to go through that, especially since at the end of the day, I shouldn't have left my wallet there in the first place... Besides after all that, my day ended with a giggle. I was complaining to a friend that I'd had more than enough coffee to drink and it hadn't been working *all* day... to which she said
"You're over-caffeinated, dehydrated, and under-stimulated!" ~M

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Cue the Canadian LMFAO cover band

... Everyday I'm shovelin' shovelin'...

My hand just finished healing the blister I worked up shoveling those hash marks right there!! If you missed the sordid tale, you can read about it here.

Oh by the way...

I got my hair trimmed and coloured last weekend, look quick because this is probably the best it'll ever look ;)
Oh and Dad, you don't have to like it... and don't worry it's not permanent.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Thank you Dragonlady

Anne McCaffrey, the Masterharper and Dragonlady has left us.
"It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you... it's what you leave behind you when you go." ~Randy Travis
She left us her thoughts, that we might sift through them, letting some settle into our hearts... and a safe haven that you didn't have to run away from home to seek shelter in.  She left us stone markers that started you on a journey, a journey that if you were anything like me you couldn't help but follow...

The path twisted and turned, leading down through the underbrush, past brigands and into the solid clasp of close friends... The journey turned from one of hours and days into a lifetime that spanned generations. 

She had an incredible ability to take you with her, to another world, another place, another lifetime.  You thought you were escaping from everyday life... to follow along safely in the shadows. You thought you were watching an everyday average hero in the making. Well you were.

But little did you realize, you were actually learning how to be one.

The day that journey ended, was the day you realized that the elusive hero you'd been chasing, desperately hoping to catch... the one that was always just out of reach, was the person looking back at you with that same goofy grin you'd seen a thousand times. That grin you get, when it dawns on you that something has been in front of you all along...

Along the way I learned that bad things happen... but what matters, is what you do after the bad things and how you treat the people around you that counts. I learned that heros and legends aren't born, they are made by their choices. The irony of it all though, is that even by not choosing... you've made your decision.

I know that I may never be in a situation where I have to make the right choice (as decided in the comfort of a livingroom by someone with the time and perspective to analyze it as such). But I would like to think that while I wept for their losses, laughed at their antics and chuckled with vindictive glee during their ingenious and well deserved triumphs *smiles*... that ultimately I learned something from the hardest of lessons alongside those characters I aspired to be.

I hope that if I ever find myself there, at one of those crossroads of a lifetime captured in a moment, that I would be able to make a choice worthy of even a sidenote in one of her novels.

The wonderful difference between life and a good story, is that you don't need a near death experience to see those special moments again.  They are there waiting for you, like a good friend. Ready, no matter the time that has passed, to be dusted off and embraced again. They don't question you during the lowest moments of your life, when all you want to do is run away. Even if the furthest you ever run is across the road to your best friend's parents' house.

I'd like to say thank you Anne McCaffrey, for sharing your friendship and your ideas. Sending them out where the *whole* world could see them, that someone like myself might chance upon them and find something as precious amongst those pages as the warmth of a campfire on a winters night.

Thank you for giving me things to think about that were so much more inspiring than Hollywood makeup, hairdos and the latest breakups.  Thank you for helping me decide who I wanted to be on the inside, and why that was more important than what I looked like... especially during my gawkward discomboobulated stage that still rears it's vile armored head from time to time.

But above all, thank you for running away with me and bringing me back when it was time, with a little more understanding than when I left. You were a very special lady, and I'm honored to have read your thoughts ;)

See what happened when Quebec tried to separate?!?!

Friday, December 02, 2011


There were only a few 'optional' pieces left over ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yes, once upon a time your Mother read entire books

I had a wonderful chat with a close friend of mine this evening. She has two kiddlets, and anyways I was telling her about this Gladiator book I'm reading... Her wistful response made me giggle... and I just knew that it was my duty to share this with all the other Mom's in my life.
"One day I'll read again...
Books with chapters."


Ze French-fingure-stache
In support of Men's health a bunch of the guys at the office have been painstakingly growing and grooming mustaches for the entire month... with varying levels of success.

Today we celebrated their efforts, the Mo-Bros supported by the Mo-Sista's, were rewarded with a public shaving... (those who haven't become attached to their manly handlebars that is). Four shaves, and no nicks, cuts or pressure leaks later and I'm practically a professional... besides ~ *holds hands up* it's okay I know first aid ~.

Together we've raised just over $1600 which is going to be matched! w00t w00t!! If you can help us raise a little bit more, by donating to me or our team, that would be spectacular of you. Thanks :)

Way to go everyone!!!

From the Captain...

Sitting in Seattle waiting for the last flight.

The dateline works this way.  My two flights in north am are listed on the itinerary BEFORE the flight from Auckland.   Leave LA at 10 am 29 Nov, Leave Seattle for Edmonton around 2 pm, Leave Auckland at 3 pm. 29 Nov.  Go figure.

By the time I'm in Edmonton, with airport time and normal wake up, I'll have been travelling around 32 hours.

Did not sleep on the Pacific flight so in "reel gud shape"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The only reason I need to not wear camo, I'd never find my pants

I just lost my 16GB usb key in my blue winter jacket in the back seat of my car for two days. You know the car I drive everywhere... the worst of it is, it wasn't even tucked in behind on the passenger side... or underneath something, no, it was on the drivers side just hanging out, waiting for me... right where I left it.

I soooooo wouldn't make it as a secret agent...

Do you think it's a bit of an indication that I have been working too many hours, and not taking enough dead days? Meeeee too, but somehow I don't think my boss will go for it.

Left to my own devices


Sunday, November 27, 2011


I think a cement truck snuck into my room last night and filled up my sinuses.

Sent... While in transit ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I see your high beams and I'll raise you my PIAA's

My new headlights are so bright, I can see into the future!!!

Sent... While in transit ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


From the last of my Halloween candy, I totally saved the best for last!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nothing starts the day off quite like...

Not one, but TWO wet socks!

I was wandering around my kitchen getting ready for work, when I stepped in a puddle. I *hate* stepping in water with socks on... but I knew it was just my fridge with dementia, which is great cause usually it forgets it has an incontinence problem.

Anyways being in my usual state of almost late I went and changed my wet sock. Yes they still matched ;)

...and then I promptly stepped in the fridge dribble with the other sock, like ten seconds later...

That'll teach me for not cleaning it up the first time *sigh*

Sent... While in transit ;)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday, a day of rest... except for the wicked

You might be Canadian... if as a spectator you've had to shovel the field off *before* watching the kids play football in the snow!!!

See those pretty coloured lines, or even just the green bits... Well we had to shovel 'em off just so they could keep track of the game!

I'm totally not even kidding you, it's one of those expensive futuristic astro-turf fields... so apparently you can't just plow it or snow-blow it because it's made up of rubberized fish turds... and despite all the money they spent on it they forgot to take into account the fact that it snows up here... and the kids still play football.

The Saskquatch and I were directed to shovel the hash-marks clear, so we did.  Up one side of the field... and down the other. All 220 yards of it. Mostly 4 feet wide... until it narrowed down to about a foot and a half for the last 25 yards. Okay, so we were a little played out by then.

It wasn't even 11am and I had already worked off my Timmy's breakfast sandwich! *shakes head* the things I'm voluntold for...

I'll make you a deal... you run on the snow and *I'll* run on the grass...
Who thought this was a good idea?!?!

After a fantastically hard fought game, in which they cut the score in half from the last time they faced off against the Mission Lions, the Yellow-jackets ended the season second in their division. Great job guys!

Rome wasn't built in a day...

Two days later I'd like to present my culinary masterpiece work in progress... rice pudding!

Two days?!?

Yes, two days... Have I mentioned that cooking and baking are not one of the skills I've mastered yet? Yet being the operative word. Well y'see here's the thing. I had some leftover rice, actually I needed the small pot and *it* had leftover rice in it... and I figured since I was being Debbie Domestic that while I was making myself dinner I'd just whip up a little rice pudding for dessert! (I like to think I can be amazing like that sometimes)

Well I can follow directions, and they said mix everything together in a bowl, pour into a casserole type thingee, put it in a roasting pan and fill it with an inch of boiling water... two boiled kettles later and it was finally ready to go into the oven.  It was then supposed to cook for half an hour, have a quick stir, then cook for 20 mins and be done.

Sounds simple enough right?

That's what I thought... half an hour later I figured it should have *some* substance, but no it was just as runny as when I put it in...  *shrugs* I set the timer for twenty more minutes... and then I set the timer for twenty more minutes... and then I set the timer for twenty more minutes...

...and then I turned the oven off, and went to bed. Who has time for this kind of thing? I mean really!?!? (No we don't really wonder why I'm not married)

This morning I left to watch footy footy football, which is another 'omg you are never going to believe what I did today' kind of moment... but when I got home I remembered I still had half finished rice pudding in the oven.

That's right I picked it up where I left off... turned the oven on, waited until it got back up to temperature and set the timer for, wait for it... yep another twenty minutes.

Now despite the fact that it looks, um... well kinda gross, it isn't actually burnt - that's cinnamon, and it was delicious I'll have you know! It had a beautiful creamy texture... and it was so good in fact that I had seconds, even though I was still full from lunch.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Doing whatever I want

I woke up with a scratchy throat this morning
It's not fair.
This is my weekend
Somebody owes me big for this!


This is my life
My parents said when I grew up I could do whatever I want...

And so, here I am at work on my weekend.

Not because I have to be
But because I want to be
Because I'm excited!

I'm proud of what I've done...
and I want to show off a little...
I need to be able to show off a little

I want everyone to be as excited about it as I am
Even if it's just because I'm excited

Even if you don't understand exactly what it is that I do

*mutters* Besides, that whole do whatever you want thing? it didn't come with the clarification that you'd have other things, more important things to worry about... things that had nothing to do with what you wanted or didn't want *mutters*

Friday, November 18, 2011

From the Captain...

There is a substancial cruisers community here which makes for a generally nice and "interesting" social atmosphere, so there's lots of people to talk to etc. and learn from. This week has is the "All points Ralley" which is a semi organized series of seminars and social events for the cruisers that have arrived here and who are settling in for the season.  There are several hundred boats in the immediate vicinity.  Today I went on a bus trip with several 'tourist' stops (wood worker craft shop, chocolate factory, shopping mall, heritage house / store etc.) so I got away from the boat and saw some country side for a change.  
The seminars have included ocean weather and trip planning in the S Pac, mechanics, corrosion,  batteries and electrical issues, NZ culture, splicing, fishing and crusing in NZ  Another weather guru is around tomorrow and something else.  There's also been some BBQ's, local talent and comedy evenings etc.  It's all geared to getting to know people.  
Interesting how many people / boats that are familiar that I've met on the travels and how many know / have seen me.  Solo sailor's  seem to have a special category in the crusier community.  Meanwhile I pick away at the jobs.  What the next move is I don't know. 

On the bright side, I'm generally enjoying my time here.  The weather has been cool but by my standards pretty pleasent.  The people around are great and I really like the NZ attitudes, and most of the boaties are good folk.  Some better than others but almost to a person good people.  

I could send you a list of jobs crossed off but you don't need that. I'm looking forward to getting home.   Having been part of this community for a bit, and listened to people and their travels, my enthusiasm is getting better.  One thing might be to spend the year in NZ waters and not head back to the Pac. Islands until 2013.  I'm currently working on the assumption of heading home next season, leaving here in April or May and going up the Line Islands from Tahiti to Hawaii and then to BC

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I feel fantastic!

Despite waking up to the power being out... crawling back into bed, staying late at work all week, smelting my brains into minor moments of brilliance, a super shcweaty taekwondo work out and getting to bed way past my bedtime.

I really do feel fantastic!

Must be the fresh snow, it's kind of like Bill Watterson said: It's like brand new piece of paper to draw on.

Sent... While in transit ;)

From the Captain...

I thought you'd appreciate the effort to reduce the smell from the head.  Well - I tried.  I pulled apart the holding tank (YUK) and reset the gaskets and added Sikaflex.  That didn't really solve it so I've checked all the joints and nary a leak.  I did discover that you do not put a valve on two sides of the hand discharge pump - anything organic in solution grows and gases - and the pump diaphram bulges and it's a bit permeable - but a wipe with bleach once and awhile (and leaving the isolation valve open) deals with that.  

I went to the store and got a bottle of red food coloring and dump the works in the toilet.  I then pumped the holding tank full so I could see the red water in the vent pipe - the whole system presurized to about 1.5 psi at the top.  Left it.  Two things - the level didn't h old and there were no leaks in the pipe work.  It's back flowing into the bowl   This means that the flapper valve in the head pump doesn't seal all that well.  I could replace / rebuild it but they're not that great a check valve anyway - I'm thinking I just might cut in another ball valve into the pipe work and use that   It's 'positive' and doesn't depend on gravity or a flap of rubber etc.  It will add a complication to using the head but so be it.

In coral, you anchor with chain, minimum 2.5:1 scope.  (5:1 with rode (rope) and a short piece of chain)  The anchor locker under the windlass will only take 80' chain, so at best, the depth is limited to a bit over 30'.  Problem is most of the anchorages are at least 40 and typically more like 80'.   You can use a combination of chain and rode but you have to be careful that the rode never gets near the bottom where it can snag on a coral head, chafe and then cut you loose - so floats are used, which are a pain, and the scope ratio goes up towards the 5:1 range depending on how much chain is down - there's no fixed rule.  So, I opened up the chain locker and found that the space for the spare chain is a piece of 6' plastic pipe, which expains why it only holds about 20', and the main locker is limited by the geometry.  
The solution is two fold.  First to remove the pipe and now the current locker becomes the "spare" and can handle 100+' no problem - but is not easily served by the windlass that is placed to feed the chain down the hawse underneath it, that goes to a pipe on a slope that delivers the chain forward.  That pipe and the slope are a problem.  Second, a new chain locker is build as a closed box that extends into the forepeak a bit.  Now the chain will drop straight down into that.  the box will be attached to the deck above and the bulkhead forward, leaving "foot room" under it for anyone sleeping in the forepeak.  It means losing 60% of the shelf space across the bow.  Anyway, I spent a good chunk of the morning sketching and finally drawing it up - I'm going to get a price from a local boat carpenter to do it - I just don't have the tools here to work with.  Anyway, that problem should be solved.

Otherwise, picking off things from the list - just not a very productive day today.

A minor crisis and my own fault.  Yesterday there were a couple of the local native (Maori) chaps on the dock and the one asked to borrow a screw driver.  I didn't think and lent it to him, and he proceeded to harvest oysters from the dock floats - until he dropped the driver.  To him it was nothing - just walked away - to me it was a pain because it was my good one, the only large one I have (you dropped the other one at the NYC mast tower) and there's no place handy to replace it.  
Sigh.  My own fault.  

Take Care

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When you thought you had everything...

Happy belated birthday.
Did you do something fun?
I delivered some babies on your birthday.
But no one named their babies Sam.

I will try again next year.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Don't let those snap dragons fool you...

Putting the punk in Steampunk (parts1-57)

You would think that after trying to explain steampunk for the entire month of October... and then some, I would have come up with something clever by now, but I haven't really. My best description is: Victorian-era style as though steam emerged *the* main source of power from the Industrial Revolution... with a DaVinci-style gadgety twist.

As usual though, wikipedia says it much better... although I have always wondered why it isn't wikipaedia, with that funny 'ae' like encyclopaedia... No, for serious.

So without further ado... here are some shots from the no-less-than four times that we dressed up for Halloween this year. Some of the odds and ends are way cooler up close and personal, and a little hard to pick out in the pictures... so I'll fill you in as we go.

The Eyeglasses... they were sufficiently Victorian style until I pulled something out of an ancient crt tv that looked like the extra lenses from the glasses in the National Treasure movie.  I spent days trying to figure out how to attach it to them, because I really wanted it to be able to swing up out of the way... and then it hit me! The squeeze tube on my hand soap which closes and locks for your traveling convenience!!! The skies opened up and the angels sang.
My satchel with my spyglass... and Indian Jones whip
My glowing bits

The Jacket. Nobody knows how old it is, or whence it came but it received a little extra aging courtesy of a foot file. Edging was done along the main seams with some copper wire pulled out of some ferrite winding inside an old tv, or it might have been the dvd player... There are furniture tacks on the shoulder seam and rivets down the back, although they weren't quite picture worthy.

Treasure's wicked steampunk wings... that fit through doorways
Note to self: Photoshop in better head... when I learn photoshop
*whispers* I am a little embarrassed to admit that I totally forgot to dress up for work Monday morning... like didn't even cross my mind forgot. THE freaking day-of I was half way to work when I heard it on the radio pulled a questionably legal u-turn and was late for work.

Both gauntlets were built on a kids soccer shin guard base... sprayed to a nice coppery colour. My nephew had a cardiac because he thought they were his, but they weren't... this time ;) The right gauntlet suffered most of the casualties every time we went out, but it was just odds and ends... including the dial from inside a thermostat. The left gauntlet has the entire inner mechanism of an optical drive riveted to it, motor and gears intact... so you can slide it back and forth!!!
Blastering a hole in the floor!
The Ray Gun" This was actually a functional super-soaker until we modded it,  my nephew hasn't forgiven us for it yet... but it was totally worth it. The glowing ball was actually a toy we found on one of our scavenging trips, it was a clear ball with a spinning disc inside with led's around the edge of the disc... some weird kid picture in the middle and batteries in the handle with a push button.  As soon as I saw it I knew that as cool as it was, it would be EVEN COOLER on my gun!

A few evenings of taking it apart, soldering various pieces back together... testing, soldering... changing batteries and testing!?! *phew* Then cutting the bare minimum plastic bits down to size, hacking out the inside of the screw on water filler cap and it fit like a glove... with some hot glue. But this setup meant that we could unscrew it at any time and change the batteries... brilliant! The batteries ended up working perfectly in their original holder (cut down to the bare minimum also) and had tonnes of room to rattle around inside the super soaker. During the soldering ordeal we drilled a hole through the handle so the start button could be mounted on the trigger position of the handle. Oh and we coated the inside of the ball with glow in the dark powder, because glowing things are awesome!

The holster for "The Ray Gun"... was a pair/set? of strategically wrapped suspenders.

Monday, November 07, 2011

It's all about context

Dear G-John,

Today your Aunt called me at work to relate the sordid tale of what happened the other day when you were at school. I guess you were telling your friends about the ant that crawled up your leg and bit your penis.  As if that wasn't bad enough, unfortunately the story doesn't end there...

The school called your house, your Mom was working till 4... So you got a thousand and one questions from your non-biological-Dad who they were unwilling to discuss the days events with. When they finally connected and related what the hall monitor overheard to your Mom, she was luckily able to provide that vital piece of clarification, namely that it was "an ant" that bit your penis and most certainly *not* "your Auntie" ...I'm not going to lie, we laughed until we cried.

I know you are completely mortified by it right now and can't look either of your Aunties in the eye... but don't worry, we will be sure to remind you about it years from now. Possibly when you get married. Hopefully you will be able to find it as funny then as we do now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

After all the bluster of the day

Give me spherical droplets of water, so perfect they are lit from within...

*shhhh* Don't even breath on them. Although I have to confess that the shadowing was completely unintentional, even though I think it looks really cool! Soooo I definitely need to learn how to do this on purpose.

More beautiful than diamonds, their time here is fleeting... and depending on the weather, leaves and lighting may be some time before they are seen around these parts again.

See things the way no one else sees them

Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along... I'm just that crazy lady standing out in the middle of the street in the pouring rain taking pictures of the tree you drive by every day.

It may be "just a tree", but then again it may not be. To me it *looks* like an ordinary one, just like every other one... except that it stands on the corner where the hero started her journey on a dark and stormy night... many moons ago on a night much like this... A night when rescuing princes and slaying evil witches were furthest from her mind.


And you thought windows had obscure error codes!

I got this on a blank page... instead of the entire site which I've been slaving over for the last few months.  My heart skipped a few times, I reloaded the files from backup... no change... I racked my brains for anything I might have changed yesterday that could have created an infinite loop?!?!

Just before my head exploded I remembered that I had changed the mysql root password for localhost...  Reset it in configuration.php in the root of my joomla directory and PRESTO!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

From the Captain...

Made it, will provide a longer reply shortly.  Basically the last 4 or 5 days are a blur and eventually got towed in by another (Canadian, from Vancouver, an engineer with family) boat with a mildly exciting docking.

The quarantine dock is a long structure aligned with the current, wind is from the stern, tide is running with the wind about 3.5 k - the tow was dropped and I coasted to the dock leapt off with a long stern line in hand and passed it into an eye and tried to stop the boat. slowed it, grabbed the line on the other side of the eye and carried down the dock and snubbed against a big pile.


Slithered around the outside of the pile with the rope as the boat starts going again and got a knot into the next eye bolt for  a full stop and secured.  About a minute later the Customs guy shows up aplogizing he wasn't there to help as expected!  No harm done.

Basically crashed and burned after I'd dealt with Customs - don't remember lying down.  I'd been up for way too many hours ghosting across the shipping lanes on the outside.  90 mi to 4.5 days in light airs after having been clobbered in a 'squash zone" between pressure systems.

Big seas, lots of wind.  The boat worked well.

Mechanics have looked at the installation and diagnosed the probable cause - now to fix.

More notes to come.

Take care

At 25/10/2011 7:26 PM (utc) our position was 35°18.88'S 174°07.36'E

To the little puke...

Who stole my nephew's candy and made him emotional, you're lucky you aren't counting stars. We went trick or treating despite you, and I'm fairly confident we've got more booty than you do, especially since this is just his haul!

Ze dragon...

Eees steel stuck at night!

Miss Appropriation (of company resources?)

This just in, scientistical confirmation of how hot I am... literally *nerd face* Oooooh yeah! That is, only if you can ignore the fact that I look like a giant wiener.

There's a dragon in the yard

Hey Mom, here's the dragon in the front yard!

I think that he's dead... he was trapped by a spider, caught in her web.

She must be a specimen of an epic proportion, to finish a meal so huge and ginormption.

This guy has had an awfully rough day, it ended abruptly what can we say... He doesn't look like he's feeling too stellar, he's awfully skinny for such a little feller.

A wickedly convoluted web that she weaves, if you're not careful you'll end up dead like the leaves!

I'm all out of rhymes and I'm ready for bed, safe trick or treating... beware of the dead!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Always be prepared...

Must be Halloween... It's snowing!

My co-worker just informed me it *isn't* snowing... So pardon the water that has achieved solid state after being cooled below freezing that is accelerating towards us at terminal velocity... but last I checked that was snow.

I think this is a good time to point out why we put our Christmas decorations up so early. I know you thought it was just because we were so excited to get into the spirit... but it's so much easier doing it *before* everything gets covered in a layer of ice, when the temperature is hovering at less than frictionless, besides you know we're all about safety first!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Dust off that imagination that's been suppressed... Now squint a little, it's a baby dragon emerging from it's egg!

With flashbacks to "Discount Al's vaseline emporium, final exam strength now in stock" I used more Vaseline than is right for any one person to have in their possession, and dutifully greased my pumpkin... my right hand is now soft and supple all the way up to the elbow. It's all rather disgusting actually *grimace* I don't mind being dirty but there's just something wrong with using *that* much petroleum product...

This picture brought to you courtesy of iPhones. Yes 's (two to be precise), one inside the pumpkin on "flashlight" mode... and the other taking the picture!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From the Commador

Dad is safely berthed in Opua New Zealand and Skyped me this evening.

All is well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Could'a been the whiskey, might'a been the gin...

Could've been the three or four jello-shots, but look at the mess I'm in...

As the birthday girl, I was definitely surprised and thoroughly thrilled that you had a Halloween themed birthday party for moi, you don't have to say anything, I know it's just a coincidence that your son has a hockey tournament  next weekend ;) Nonetheless, it made me feel warm and fuzzy all night... and even thinking about it again now makes me grin.

I also have to say, it was such an honor to finally meet the besty friend of a friend who started reading this crazy story that is my life... and somehow found herself caught up in it all. I don't understand how it happens, but a word to the wise... you might want to keep it on the down low, I'm pretty sure people have been committed for less. In any case I considered it a birthday present, and it was great that she didn't even seem to mind that I'm really not that funny in real life... hmmm come to think of it, maybe that's why she went "pee" early...

Signs a good night is in progress, is when you find a few doozies to add to the "You haven't hosted a good party, until..." list, like these ones:
Someone's boobs catch on fire, without causing bodily harm to *anyone*... even if it did singe a few feathers ;)
You've had a full-contact hands-free smartie catching contest, without breaking the smarty dispenser... and in which nobody required first aid.
Somebody has been blamed for accidentally feeding the dog meatballs, on purpose. You know who you are. *ahem*

At two am when you're dancing barefoot in the kitchen, everyone having stripped off their pretty shoes... and things begrudgingly start to wind down... you head for bed, with the promise of leftover apple crisp for breakfast, you know it's been a good party.


Novelty beer... does not live up to expectations.

Signs of winter

I'm not sure why this made me laugh so hard, but I just saw an old guy on a tractor with like half a roll of toilet paper stuffed up his nose... do you think his wife let him out of the house like that?

From the Captain...

I'd hoped to be in NZ and able to call you and sing the b day song but 'fraid not.

This is the most challenging passage yet - and I just got bitten by the mechanical system again - two or three times at once.  First I screwed up when I left Tonga - should have paid the extra immigration cost and killed another two weeks, or gone to Fiji - but I didn't want to do that passage given I was sick and tired of passages and there are a lot of uncharted hazards along that route.  You "should be" OK if you stay north of such and such....  

Anyway, I'm here.

Next error, called the weather wrong and when I hit a change where the wind was all over the place for an hour, I chose simply to heave to and sleep - and a while later realized things had settled.  Should have gone up and set sail to west, didn't.  Drifted north 20 m while I slept.  Had I sailed, I probaly wouldn't have nothred 20 miles and would have gained westing that I needed.

Then 3 fronts  came through, a couple of days with the worst squalls ever - 40 to 50 k winds.  And with things settled out, I was beating due south.  Second error - kept going south in the nice sailing conditons figuring the wind would shift and I'd get west.  NOT.  Things calmed down, so decided to motor into the wind.

Engine fine, belts slipping badly.  Tightened.  Another nasty noise developed.

Decided to sail, granted north west so I'd actually be sailing away from port, but getting the west I had to have.  No options.  Got sailing and turned motor off - except it wouldn't.  OK, shut off the fuel supply.  Shut EVERY valve off and the sucker kept going.

Getting desperate.

Got to the point of cracking the lines to the injectors to introduce air, but just before that recalled the discussion with Peter at Eureka and recalled that an alternative to the solenoid (which is probably frozen in the run positition) there's a mechanical lever at the end of the rack.

Found it - it worked. 

Anyway, I was looking at 120 nm of motoring, now I'm looking at 160 mi of sailing.  Let's hope the wind holds without getting nasty high - there's another system coming through and I hope to be in somewhere calm by then.  We'll see, it'll be close.

Have a great day.  BTW - I'm on the other side of the date line - it's your bday here now.

Love Dad
At 21/10/2011 4:59 AM (utc) our position was 32°25.14'S 176°46.76'E


In soviet Russia you don't eat cake... Cake eats you!


Not bad, not bad at all... but not my favouritest ever, just a nice light salad :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

If this doesn't getcha going like a good poke in the eye

I'm not even sure how to say this... so I'll just start. Whoever put the elastic in sweatpants legs was a genius.

Situational context: I was helping my friend Aaren and his buddy Dave, mount the front fenders on his Unimog which could totally be in preparation for all kinds of zombie apocalypse awesomeness...

Anyways I had just returned from another quick run to the hardware store for 8 more nuts and bolts... and while I stood there watching Dave tighten the remaining screws and finish a smoke I felt a prick on my knee.  I rubbed it, it felt a little like a thistle pokey which kind of made sense... I mean I had been kneeling a lot while trying to convince that first fender it would be much happier hooked up than single. 

But something wasn't quite right *frowns*.  I knelt down and stuck my hand up my pant leg as unobtrusively as far as possible to see if I could grab the pokey thing from the inside... like when you get something stuck on the inside of your sock, and nothin'.  Just then my two cups of coffee finished percolating, so I headed in for a pee.

So there I am, sitting there... peeing... and I take a look at my knee (I can multitask like that), and just as I decide that without a doubt it's a bite mark a fricken WASP crawls UP OVER MY UNDERWEAR ONTO MY SWEATPANTS and bbzzzzZZZTTttzzZZZ's at me!!!!!!

If I hadn't already been sitting on the toilet peeing... I would have peed my pants. As it was I just about had a little cardiac and passed out. You know that wash of cold dread that comes from somewhere older than the sum of your experiences... and you literally have the span of time between thoughts to *not* panic?

That happened.

I didn't pass out. I didn't scream like a girl... and I didn't panic... much. I brushed (albeit hurriedly) the wasp off the edge of my pants, and decided that sitting on the john was definitely a tactical disadvantage as I just barely refrained from the urge to grab the it with some toilet paper and flush it... Visions of all the potential points of things that *could* go wrong with this deceiving simple scenario streamed through my head, including what would happen if I got stung, jumped up, and tried to run out of the washroom while tripping over my pants screaming like a little girl.

Yeah, that would be great for my tough girl reputation... This is the stuff tabloids are made of, so why am I telling all of you? *rolls eyes* because I still can't believe it happened, and its too damn funny not to share ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good morning :)

I think everyone should have started their day with chocolate kisses in the morning, I know it's done wonders for an already fantastic Friday!

Yes, I can be bribed... Thanks Fay ;)

Monday, October 17, 2011

From the Captain

Got away from Tonga - the passage out was an act of faith in the GPS.  The channel shows on the chart but you can't see the reefs that the chart shows - they're underwater about 1 m and extensive.  Islands you can see aren't shown - they're part of the reef, and what nav markers are shown on the shart may - or may not exist.  The route out is twisty but works.  Once more or less clear was motoring along and saw a whale do the full breach thing.  Something I've missed to date.  Impressive.  And to top off the day, I finally saw the green flash.

Made OK time the first day, winds were light.  Picked up the second day and made 105 nm which is about right.  Then this morning early the wind began to build.  Something woke me with the thought - 'don't like the sound of that, winds not high but should reef" - did, glad. Within a couple of hours the wind was hitting 40 and I was down to storm sails.  No big deal, boat handled it all like a lady and the only casualty was my hand of bananas.  They blew away.  They had just ripened, hanging from the radar arch.  Had in interesting peppery flavor.

Most of the day was spent blasting along, and late this afternoon things have settled some.  At least the rain stopped.  Forgot to mention the lightning.  Picture if you will, I'm putting in the second reef in the main and one of the reef point lines is tangled in a shroud about 12' above deck.  I had to use some webbing to complete the reef 200 mm short, tape the kitchen knife onto the book hook, cut the tankled line (piece of small stuff) which I managed without damage to sails, ropes, myself etc. despite the tossing about.  Completed the reef.  While I'm clinging to the aluminum mast semit standing on the winch, there is a huge flash of lightning in the sky - I'm thinking - this is probably not healthy but what can I do?  Finished the job.

So, just now, the wind is down some, doing 5+ k rolling away.  about 200 or so nm out, 900 to go.

Take care
At 11/10/2011 7:28 PM (utc) our position was 22°26.10'S 176°00.45'W

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Go team :)

It's a beautiful day to be watching footy-footy-football!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Phase one

I think we have enough dragon to feed an army... of spiders!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Welcome to Burlesque

Last night we were in an ordinary bar, in an ordinary place... not too far from here.  Nonetheless I felt a tingle of rebellion... it was a work night, and I wasn't tucked safely at home in bed like I was supposed to be.  In fact I was surrounded by the people your mother warned you about, who were anything but ordinary.

In a world where the industrial revolution continued solely down the path of steam power.  Victorian style pin stripes and top hats met ruffles, feathers, corsettes and leathers. All of it, accessorized with copper and gears crafted with a gadgeteer's flourish, obvious even to the unobservant.

The evening's entertainment consisted of a bizarre mixture ranging from carney acts to salacious skits, songs, and choreographed dance routines in all of their live, unpolished glory. The imperfections holding you captive in a moment, each story directing your attention as easily as the one you've heard Granny tell a hundred times. Not even realizing you're watching slack jawed, holding your breath... until it's released, erupting out of you like a sprinter off the start line to running in circles around the room playing tag with the rest of the cheers and applause.

What once was old is new again. Watching the power of women who were so comfortable in their own skin, was incredibly liberating. Real women, women with voices as big as their hips, and a confidence that made their bodies fit them... not you, or me or anyone else.

These weren't the perfectly fake airbrushed glossy magazine Hollywood girls... lacking the inny-outty bits that allow you tell them apart from the twelve year old boys. This was the real thing, served up like a good cold beer with a full body of attitude and a healthy dose of take it or leave it... because I don't give a damn. It was awesome and humbling at the same time, this was a rare glimpse of the raw strength few women tap into lying seductively, hibernating just below the deceivingly soft surface.

The realness of it lent to the saloon atmosphere and grounded everything, while the steampunk transported the evening from the old, half remembered whispers of a dream that you've been here before to the realm of the fictional and imaginary, the likes of which you've never seen.

I witnessed things that hereto I had only every heard spoken in hushed tones and incredulous whispers. Things I would not have believed, or would have thought to be exaggerations had I not seen them with my own eyes.

The daring, the wonder, the magic of burlesque.

It was totally worth the 5am wake up sleep walk and subsequent hour and half drive spooning with the passenger door nap back to work this morning.  Even as I sit here at 10pm, eyes burning and blinking wading through my muddled thoughts... wanting needing to go to bed I can't because I have to get them all out and down on paper now.


It's official

We have frost... as if getting up when it's still dark out isn't bad enough.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

After a long day at work...

A good friend is someone who breaks into your house and washes your dishes.

Sent... While in transit ;)


I can once again lock my car with the confidence that I will not have to climb in the trunk to get it unlocked.  Sometimes it's the little things, that even when you pay a lot for them make all the difference in the world.

The trouble I was having, is that the drivers side lock hasn't worked since the July long ball tournament in Enderby...  You see, the thing is... well I've been busy, and it's taken me well practically forever to get this fixed... alright I'll be honest, the only reason I finally did it is because I panicked when the passenger door lock started to stick too. Mostly because if that stopped working the only other way in is the trunk, which would just look ridiculous in pretty shoes!

So for anyone who is wondering, a 2008 Honda Fit "sidewinder-style" key will last approximately three and half years of constant use (~3-4 times daily).  Apparently this is quite a common problem, because the end of the key gets worn out and rounded. The warning sign is a wear line on the key, caused by the tumbler dragging its ass rather than hauling it up and over like its supposed to, mashing together and getting more and more bujubbled until it seizes like a bad leg cramp.

Now you know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


No caption necessary... but if you've made this far...

There are boobs EVERYWHERE!

How cool is that?

Hate to break it to you little buddy, but your camo doesn't work on concrete