Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fiesta al Gomez

This is Gomez

On Tuesday, it was Gomez with us for the Dodge.  On Thursday, it was Gomez, Cap'n Dan, and my coworker Joseph over at our place for a Zzyzx Road Kitchen dinner party.  On Sunday, it was Gomez' turn to host, along with Bernadine, who Gomez lives with and helps take care of.  We were warmly welcomed into a great, big, old house with art everywhere.  Then Gomez went nuts.  Three different types of mimosas--orange, pomegranate, and mango--plus another pack of Bombardier ale.  To eat, scrambled eggs and chorizo, seasoned bacon, and potatoes...even tho' Gomez is vegetarian.  We ate out on the patio with the lake in the distance.  By the time we were done, we were so full we all wanted to nap.

On the lake, everyone really can get along.

Overcoming our drowsiness, Bev and I went down to the Center for the Public Sail.  Lots of people and lots of boats were on the lake to enjoy a fine afternoon.  After hanging out only briefly, Bev and I boarded the Admirable with Gomez and the usual crew of John and Tim, plus Laura (aka "Tinkerbell").  It was a casual cruise.  I did very little, and the wind was as shifty as ever.  Although there were 'patrons,' there were so many volunteers it had a sort of clubhouse vibe.  Comfortable.

Gomez (facing away), John (in back), Tim, and Laura aboard the Admirable

Just another classic CWB moment
and another

Back at the dock, the 'club' retired to John's Daisy.  Gomez brought out the morning's leftovers and disguised the mimosas as "tea" in mugs.  Summer social at the Center.  Bev and I mostly just relaxed as John told of cruising adventures involving friendly otters and intelligent whales.  We were slated to go out on the Amie, but it was Bev's turn to be tired.  We headed home.

Cap'n John and guests, enjoying "tea."

Then we got stuck for over an hour just short of our homeward exit when they closed the entirety of southbound I-5.  Bev and I eventually learned that there was a three-car accident that was the end of a shootout and chase that had started at a community event in Seward Park:  It wasn't just a crash scene, it was a crime scene.  Eventually they opened up one lane, and we all squeaked through.  Tho' I was now exhausted and thirsty, it had been a good day.  Thanks, Gomez!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

42 years on a sailboat in a toga

42 years old.  Does this mean I will come to further understand the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?  Well, it does mean that I got not only a cool wallet with a Sailor Jerry design but also a new pair of Sennheiser pro headphones.  At work, my desk was decked out, Joseph brought breakfast, and my boss brought cake.  I even got a tiny gag pistol that drops a little banner that says "bang" when you pull the trigger, totally inappropriate workplace entertainment.  Yet nothing seemed simple all day.  I was pummeled and shuffled.  Luckily, I had my best present last:  leaving work behind, and enjoying some of the best wind I've ever had on Lake Union.

The Betsy D braves the melee

Toga night at the Duck Dodge.  Us flabby men looked ridiculous, especially with me in a very loose "Bacchanial" tie, while the women didn't stick with white bedsheets and were sometimes quite shiny.  Gomez, joining Zanne, Dan, and me for his first Dodge, stayed in his civvies.  Fact is, since I'm always the one to go foreward to unfoul the jib and get it over the lifeline, the toga got in the way and was quickly stowed.  Gomez added a bit of CWB-ness to the cruise, but he wasn't the only one:  The dear Betsy D and couple Blanchard Juniors were out in the fresh breeze, too...not in the race, just out for fun.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Aubrey-Maturin in Brief 8: The Ionian Mission

Meanwhile, back at the war.  Also, back to my summaries...four months it has been since my last Aubrey/Maturin post (usual SPOILER alert).  After the far-flung adventures of Desolation Island and The Fortune of War, and the espionage/love story of The Surgeon's Mate, with The Ionian Mission we are reminded that Boney has not yet been defeated.  We are also reminded that war is not all chases, plots, and heroism:  There is drudgery, there is the boredom that is often part of duty.  Maturin and Aubrey have to get back to work.

Fortunately, not only does O'Brian make the repetitiveness of life in an ongoing blockade entertaining, he also breaks the repetition.  Our last book took us north to the Baltic.  This time the Mediterranean that started the show is explored in the Ionian Islands of Greece, where Turkish beys--politicians and pirates--squabble amongst themselves and attempt win the favor, or at least the play the allegiance, of Britain.  Once again the sly methods of the Doctor and the martial skills of Lucky Jack must come together for the mission to succeed.

I am not even half way through O'Brian's series.  At some point we know Boney must lose.  Yet O'Brian's naval universe stands both interesting in its own right and always expanding into new territories.  With Lesbians and red-bearded corsairs now in the mix, who am I to complain?

"Everard Barge Passing HMS Worcester at Greenhithe" by Anthony Blackman

(1) Dr. Stephen Maturin and his new wife, Diana, live in an odd but effective marriage arrangement.  Maturin, ever surrounded by the trappings of medicine and the secrecy demanded by his role as spy, lives at the inn The Grapes.  Diana, with her intense social life, lives in a modern house in Half Moon Street.  Yet they are perpetually visiting each other and are happier than ever.  Maturin is preparing to join his particular friend, Capt. Jack Aubrey, who has taken an unenviable command, the 74-gun Worcester, which will take part in the never-ending blockade of Toulon.  In fact, Maturin is also preparing for a another assignment.  Diana and Maturin have a farewell dinner party, joined by the charming Jagiello, who then takes Maturin south to Portsmouth in his coach.  After an accident, Maturin barely makes the departure in time; Aubrey has to ignore the signal to get underway and almost misses the tide.  The frowns that greet Maturin’s arrival are turned that evening at dinner, but the officers are far from happy.  They have been assigned to an infamously poorly made vessel—a “coffin ship”—and to the monotony of the blockade.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kilt up! Skagit Valley Highland Games 2012

Saturday, there was a company picnic.  The organizers were excited, but not many others.  Instead, Zanne and I learned that one of her best friends of all time, the piper E.J. Jones, for whom a good deal of credit must go for my meeting Zanne at Gig Harbor Faire, was playing with the internationally known Texas Celtic band Clandestine at the Skagit Valley Highland Games.  So...coworker potluck or Scottish festival?  Duh...

Logan's beard is great and fearsome.  (Pic by Bev)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Portrait of a pirate as a young boy

35 years ago.  1977.  Best known to those of my kind as the year of Star Wars.  That momentous day was May 25th, which should have been duly celebrated two months ago with your own personal recreation of the Mos Eisley cantina (just leave the droids outside) or at least a plastic cup of blue milk.  But I want you to go back to earlier in the spring, before the world learned of The Force, before Han Solo became this geek's favorite captain.  Back to when my favorite captain was named...Hook.

Forget about it, Sparrow.  He got there way before you did.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival 2012: That's A Wrap

Zanne and friend

Wednesday, July 4.  Sun and puffy clouds.  Zanne comes, too.  I introduce her to the usual suspects.  I check in at the Foss, the Betsy D, and the Boat House.  Add Nick Anastasio Gomez, known to most everyone simply by his last name.  He is on roaming duty, which means that as I do my rounds with Zanne he tags along.  Zanne and I are not just the first into the beer garden but are allowed in early by Tom.  Gomez joins us soon after.  And Zanne gains her latest nickname:  "Junior."

Bringing the crew aboard
Storm and train--make the noise, lead 'em on.  It's a more than a decent audience.  Zanne and Gomez go to the top deck of the Foss to watch and take pictures.  Zanne and my camera both, I learn, survive a fall down the ladder into the engine room.  Someone has left a gumby suit in my space...some sort of man overboard demonstration?  The Amie keeps passing, and I keep threatening, but my posturing is no match to the powers of Tinker Bell, who is on the bow, and the simple fact that they're out of pistol shot.


The Amie evades capture

Nearly perfect delivery.  Random kid comments.  A new tool:  When the attention span falls apart, I stop the whole operation and yell, "Are we all crew?"  The kids all shout "Aye!" in unison, and control is reestablished.  History, participation, fear, humor, improv, girls.  All the things that make story time work.

How we do

After a few more pictures with fans we return to the beer garden.  It has become crowded and not with mariners.  We have one pint each and lunch, but we're done.  We know that if we don't escape now, it will be a hard passage home.  As a pirate, I reserve my right to run away.  So I give up our 3:30 spot on the Betsy D and say farewells.  Gomez finds me and accompanies us out.  Zanne is seeking shelter under her little parasol, and I'm starting to pant.  It matters not.  It has been another fun and successful festival.  Thanks...to the kids for pushing their tender boundaries, to the parents for trusting them to my scoundrel ways, to the staff and volunteers who are the best mates a dog like me could ever ask for, and...to Junior!

Logan...until next time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival 2012

The Lavengro says, "Welcome back."

Day One, Saturday, 6/30:  My Happy Place.  It all feels comfortable and familiar.  Eldon walks around and officiates as always, and Aislinn gives me a big hug as I check in.  As Pirate Lou starts making the rounds, it's as much about saying "Good to see you again" with the coffee drinkers aboard the Orion as it is about hooking kids for story time.  I'm convinced by Dan the man that the One Reel relationship may not be so bad.  If it means not only more people knowing about (and donating to) the CWB but also a possible vision for the 4th of July that completely encircles Lake Union, how can one argue?  Even the boats are old friends:  Adventuress is the biggest, Opus is the cutest, and Silva Bans is the one I want to commandeer.  At noon, I maintain my rep for being first patron at the beer garden, the manager from Jillian's grinning and saying, "Back again so soon?"