|The Three-Legged Wonder Dog|
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
There are so many things going on in life. The past two mornings, I've been woken up by the sound of the fog horns on the big cruise ships coming in. The horns are blaring around 5:45 every morning. It's pretty obnoxious, but when I get up to let Dash out, I realize why. The fog has been so thick, I can barely see across the harbor.
I posted on my Facebook a few weeks ago after a similar foggy morning that fog was a great analogy for life, how it shrouds everything, even the familiar things with mystery. It's scary, sometimes, not knowing what is just beyond our sight, and we sometimes feel very foolish when it burns off and we see that there was being to be afraid of. Yet that anxiety is there, bred into us after thousands of years of being scared of the potential predators lurking about in there.
Maybe the point is simply to embrace the mystery. There are always things that are just beyond our control, and not a whole lot we can do about them. It's admittedly an uncomfortable amount of trust that we invest into that unknown, hoping that nothing does come out and bite us. But the trust usually pays off, when good and beautiful things come out of the fog with greater frequency. Art, nature, friends, familiar sights, they all get clearer when we get closer to them from out of the fog. You just have to get through it to get there.
Food for thought.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Today is the first day that it's felt like fall. The sun is bright in that unusually "dry" way. The colors are crisp, the air is cool, and the breeze is light. Fall is my favorite season, and I'm glad it's here. Bring on the season of gluttony and massive amounts of food consumption, of sideways rain and howling gales. Life is good. We'll use this time to catch up on television shows and play cards. Welcome back, fall. Please stay a while. I know you have real commitments in other parts of the world with leaves that actually turn colors, but I'd appreciate a week or two of your company.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Today, I'm working on getting caught up on chores. I have mail to sort through, a wrecked aft cabin to organize, a water tank to fill, and whatever else may fall into my lap. I was looking at climbing Deer Mountain today, but I hate rushing to put stuff together last minute, and Joey will be staying with me for a couple of weeks, so the aft cabin needs straightened out. Period.
Still, on my list of things to do is go outside, reorganize my stuff, and avoid the tourists at all costs. As I write this, I'm looking up and seeing the Disney Wonder roll up, and that is one big cruise ship. I'd hate it, being on that size of boat with literally thousands of people I don't know doing these half-ass "adventure tours" that don't really give you a feel for the town. If I give any usable travel advise on this blog it's this: if you want to see southeast Alaska, don't take a cruise. Take the ferry. www.ferryalaska.com You don't even need to get a room. You can pitch a tent in the back deck. You can get off at any port, stay as long as you want, abs catch the next ferry. And when you get to these little towns, all any cool local hippie where a good beach to camp out on exists. Trent kayaks from the rec centers. Go explore on your own time. You'll get a much better taste of what Alaska is. If you're lucky (and it won't take much because these salt of the earth people are super nice), you can meet someone to take you sailing or fishing. My, my, my, it's a beautiful world.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
Tonight, we're going with adventure themes. I've put together a road trip/snowboarding/climbing/rafting mix tape of all the good stuff I listened to on my adventures. Tune in at krbd.org.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Today, I'm catching up on chores. I did dishes, cleaned up a little, and am now at the laundromat doing a quick load of stuff for the week. I remember posting about "soul laundry" a long time ago, living in my can and having the freedom to do what I wanted. Life is different now, and while I still have freedom, I've been forced to come to terms with the responsibility end of things. It's been rough, but it's manageable. I see how my dad has done stuff through the years, dishes, laundry, taking out the trash, and now that it's me, I empathise.
At any rate, here is a picture of dishes. Per my mom's insistence, the dishes must include cleaning off the counters, wiping everything down, and putting anything and everything away. We do what we can.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Last night, my friend called me and said he was going on a weekend trip with his girlfriend. He asked me to come by and jet his dog out, do some laundry if I want. Laundry is going. Coffee is being consumed. Life is good.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
The last three weeks, the phone had taken a swim and drowned here in Thomas Basin. I've been without contact.
I managed to do a bunch of stuff. I fixed the toilet, cleaned the boat, organized the aft cabin a bit, moved some more stuff from the shop, and built a flatter deck for the forward cabin so the ridges wouldn't destroy my back in the night.
Otherwise, working to square things away for the many potentialities that lay on my horizon. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I had these awesome prints of various that I had accumulated over the years, and decided now was the time to use it or lose it. Here is my awesome retro Star Trek poster from the episode with Joan Collins, as well as a matching insignia from the original series. Both covered old, sticky pieces on the wall, and I must say, add a certain element of hipster class to this boat.... it makes up for the big retro Denver Bronco helmet on the door to the front v-berth.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
The project for the weekend was to fix the head. Inevitably, as a side note, I need to remind myself (and The Girl when she gets home) that I need to out a sticker on the door to the head that says "If you didn't swallow it, the toilet won't either."
Starting at the toilet, I systematically removed, cleaned, and reinstalled each hose until I find the culprit, a paper towel from the lack of toilet paper times.
After a couple of hours of cleaning up after myself, I needed to shave my head and take a shower. I finished up to The Dog enjoying time on the deck with the rare sunshine.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
That's the random name given to this picture. I downloaded a new app for my phone which allows me to manipulate photos. It seemed fun to go back and find a picture from the old Chronicles and play around. Here is a sunset over Mount Shavano from Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, Colorado.
He inherited $1400 from his mother who lived in a house in a town in the cascades. He hadn't seen her in 5 years. His step-brother drove him there, along with his step-brother's friend, who he didn't know, to get the money and some of her things, to see where she lived, maybe who she was, by seeing who she was with at the time.
The Cascades, oh, the Cascades, where the rivers are like moving lakes. Oh, the cascades, the Cascades, where it's dark and wet, and you can disappear without a trace. Without a trace. Without a trace.
And on the way back, he bought his girlfriend a camera, bought his dad a knife and them dinner and a case of beer. And in the back, he waited in the car. They sat for hours in a bar, because he was underage. Then in the mountains, they pulled off on a Forest Service road, and dragged him from the car. They took all the money, his i.d.bracelet, and all of her things, and left him there. $1400. $1400. $1400.
Oh, the Cascades. Oh, the Cascades, where the rivers are like moving lakes. Oh, the Cascades, the Cascades, where it's always dark and wet with rain. Oh, the Cascades, the Cascades. Disappear without a trace. Without a trace. Without a trace.
Today, I have a serious project ahead of me. I'm going too unclog the head on the boat. I had to clean stuff up to make an easy path from the head to the outside, where I have a large bucket waiting so I can dump my $#!t appropriately. It's going to be interesting. At least Dash, The Dog, is waiting patiently.
Friday, June 7, 2013
This morning, I took time away from work to spend with The Girl as she packs and gets ready to leave for weeks doing her part with kids on a canoe adventure over on Prince of Wales Island. The program she's working with is designed to take troubled youth and teenagers. She loves it, and is gone most of the summer doing it. I'm actually excited for the time I'm going to have to get to know the boat, and to do stuff like play with my three-legged wonder dog.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Let me tell you all a story about electronic equipment and wireless providers that fail.
I have a Samsung Galaxy II. I love it. It's the means by which I update this blog, get in touch with family, etc. Small, thin, fast, bright, it's a great phone.
At least, it was. The swype started failing on it. I went in to GCI, and the customer service rep looked at it, played with it a little bit, and then downloaded updates for the apps I downloaded (totally unrelated), and told me that my phone was just fine, only I souls use a regular keyboard, not swype. Seriously? Basically, nothing changed.
I took it home, frustrated, and called tech support. I waited on hold for almost half an hour before I was told that the contract I've been paying for every month will cover it... with a $200 deductable.
So now the phone has a deteriorating condition. The voice command program just opens when it feels like it. It shuts off on a whim. It interrupts phone calls and basically just sucks.
I went in to GCI again, talked to the manager, who was preoccupied. He called my phone from his big iPad like device, and apparently, if my phone can receive that one call, it's all in my head.
Then, while still distracted, he hands me one of the brochures there in the store... for the tech support number... and the insurance claim info... with the $200 deductible.
Oh, how I miss T-mobile, where I would walk in and say, "hey, I have this problem with my phone," to which they would respond "oh, no! (with genuine concern) let's see what's up?" They'd dig, they'd make my phone do things that I'd never seen, and they'd either fix my problem or replace my phone. That's it. One visit, maybe half a hour invested. GCI, while I'm forced to continue using you for lack of better options, this has left a very bitter taste in my mouth.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
I was nervous at first to be moving onto a sailboat with my dog. I didn't know if my dog was going to do alright with the close quarters, the jumping and climbing around, the docks, all that stuff.
First off, Ketchikan has very drastic tides. The average difference between high and low tides is something around 16 feet. That means when the tide is low, the ramps leading to the docks are very, very step. One half of any ramp here in town has these pseudo steps built in so you can climb them like stairs when it's steep.
The dog struggled at first. Some of the walkways are metal grates that you can see through. I image he was either scared or it was painful to walk on. But, with some gentle coaxing and bribery, the dog found his way.
Down the ramp and to the wooden walkways of the docks, he's now good to go off leash for the entire experience.
Getting into the boat was scary at first, too. He couldn't commit to taking that first step. It took him a couple of weeks to figure it out, but he got there.
Here he is on the dock just hanging out.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Tonight, Joey and I went with the theme of colors on the radio facsimile of the blog. I've been volunteering for KRBD for over a year now here in Ketchikan. I've never really had a set style of music that I've played, so it's really fun to see what other people bring to the table.
Tonight, we played an eclectic mix, stuff like Coldplay and The Old 97s, Incubus and Bon Iver, M83 and Jimi Hendrix, and all of the on air antics... it's awesome.
Always a good time on community radio, and KRBD is the best outlet for that sort of creativity that I've ever been a part of.
Monday, June 3, 2013
Saturday afternoon, we decided to take the dog out on a conoe. We wanted to see how he handled the ocean in a small, wobbly boat. We rented a canoe from the wonderful people at Ketchikan Parks and Recreation. If you're ever in Ketchikan and looking for stuff for cheap, rent a canoe from the rec center. $15/day or $25 for the weekend, which starts Friday and ends Monday. Hell of a deal.
Anyway, we rented this canoe and took off around 4. Destination: a beach on nearby Joe Island. We paddled across the calm water and got there as it had just started to rain. Our friend who came across with us in a kayak went back to the big island, and we started setting up camp.
The nice thing about Alaska is you can camp just about anywhere you want. We climbed up from the beach a little ways, find a nice moss bed with some wind protection, started a fire, and got settled.
We let the fire make some good coals, and went for a short walk before deciding to go back and have the good conversation that always comes before sleep while you're camping.
The next morning, we got up, and I walked to the beach to find a seal close by snacking on some of the tiny fish that were eating bugs in unison on the water's surface. About 50 yards off shore, a couple of humpback whales were spouting.
After a brief and vein effort to hop in the boat to catch up with them, we decided to paddle around our tiny island and check it out.
About three quarters of the way around, we decided to pill up on a beach and hike up to the top of the island. After getting immersed in the unending mossy green of the forest, she turned to me and said "Narnia". So beautiful.
We hiked back down, grabbed a quick snack, and paddled back home, another beautiful Alaskan weekend in the books.
May 15th was the day. The down payment was transferred. The keys were exchanged. I moved onto the boat.
Getting used to the quarters were the hardest part. I only hit my head twice, though. Next to the first BattleWagon, this place seems palatial.
What I am living on is a 1972 Hallberg-Rassy yacht. Made in Ellös, Sweden, this model was one of the first to feature a glass wind screen on the pilot house, a feature that now comes standard on almost every cruising sailboat in the world.
In the bow, there is a v-berth which I leave concerted to a single bed. There are shelves on either side, storage underneath, and a couple of small cubby holes with lights and an electrical outlet nearby.
Behind the front berth, on the port side, there is a head with a toilet and a sink who's faucet detaches for showering. The floor has a pump below it to get the shower water out. Across the small hallway, there is a small closet and the water pump and point-of-use water heater are located in there.
Moving backwards, there is a big dinette on the port side, which also folds down into sleeping space. On the starboard side, there is a gallery with a sink, fridge, and propane-powered oven and stove, as well as a gaslight and plenty of storage for stuff.
The door seals all of this in, keeps the heat really well. Behind the door, there is the pilot house, which has the controls for the diesel engine, the wheel, and all of the navigation equipment, from radar to GPS and old fashioned maps. There is a built-in cooler out there for drinks under one if the seats.
In the stern, behind the wheelhouse, another v-berth is just hanging it, waiting for guests to visit, and guarding my outdoor gear until that happens.
Her name is Three Sheets to the Wind, and she is spectacular.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
|The sun is trying to fall asleep.|
|The fire keeps us warm as we tuck the sun in.|
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
I recently saw an interview of Doctor Niel deGrasse Tyson in which he said one if the most beautiful things in science. To paraphrase, he said that, over billions of years, giant clouds of dust formed stars and planets, and that, of the very same atomic particles which make up everything in the universe, we are made.
Leaving absent any concept of "how" this happened, the idea that it's true is simply amazing!
The amount if personal conviction it would take for someone like me, someone moderately scientifically literate, a huge fan of science fiction, and relatively intelligent, to put that on some sort of rational proportion in my head... it's nearly impossible.
It's almost as much of a leap of faith on my part as, say, accepting that over the millennia, people around the world have been writing volumes about the same diety, the God of the Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha'i, Mormons, and the thousands of denominations therein, and that all if these stories are, more or less and before their translations and edits, differing yet consistent enough to be an incredible epic, an easy enough concept for almost anyone to grasp.
However, I've noticed something much simpler and far more grand than either is these concepts.
Last night, I walked on a beach at sunset on a rare, clear, spring evening. The simplicity of it. Me. Another person to share the experience. And a dog. The random stranger. And all the while, across the water and above the mountains, a bright explosion of atomic energy is burning so hot that we can see and feel it from millions of miles away, through our atmosphere even!...
But I'm getting carried away. Simple. Me. Cool, damp, crisp air filling my lungs. The gentle slapping of our tiny waves on the gravelly beach. The fading light.
The color of the sky above the sun.
The warmth of other people sharing the experience, even if only for a few seconds as they walk by with their dog.
The point is that, whether it's a beach in Alaska, a mountain top in Colorado, a desert in Egypt, Mecca, some little used campground 40 minutes from anywhere, wherever, there is a place we all have been where we don't care about what or how it came to be, we're happy. Safe. Comfortable. Humble.
Some of us have more than one of these places. Some of us have a person, a mentor, a role model of sorts. Some of us have a car.
Going with the car, say you've got an old Chevy Corvette you've between meticulously restoring. You nay know who built it, and you may know exactly how they did it. But when you restore it, you put all of that work into it, time and money, and you take it on its first drive... do you think of God? Sure, I would guess some people do. But for some people, there is simply joy. Unexplainable happiness, which followed anticipation and preparation, consumes you, and you know that the work you've done had led you to that place.
You're experiencing what I would loosely call "God", but it's a horrible blanket name for the feeling that is so much greater than what one typically experiences when they think of God.
Maybe a new phrase is in order for this experience. I submit "spiritual gem". I had a high school teacher, Mr. Edward Lambert, who spoke to us about literary gems, those almost perfect phrases in literature that could tell a story and break your heart in one sentence.
Such as my sunset. I can think of the many times I've experienced "spiritual gems" of my own. Seeing Lily Lake for the first time. Standing on top of The Owl in Arches National Park. The birth of my first son. Watching Raiders of the Lost Ark at Red Rocks Amphitheater with a thunderstorm in the distance. The way my second son tells me he loves me.
The way I said goodbye to my first son.
Not all of these experiences were amazingly positive, but all were profoundly life changing. I'm fortunate to have had as many as I have, and, oddly, mostly outside of the places I feel most open to receive then. However, going to these places helps me connect to them, a sanctuary of sorts.
I encourage you, if you're someone who seeks either faith or knowledge, to find and exist in the places with the people that you feel any hint of pure joy with. Cling to the things that make you happy for no apparent reason. Don't walk away from then, and don't label them as nuisances to your "real" life. I'm a firm believer that they're more real than anything else you'll ever experience.
Find your beach, your rock, your campsite, your soul mate, your dream car, your mountain, your baby, your dog, whatever... Find them and love them. Keep them. Don't ever forget them. It may be a picture in your head if a place you saw years ago and never forgot.
The trick is that, when you think of these things, when you remember how happy you were, that you don't forget the happiness. And if that place or person is gone or forever changed, the fact that they existed at all, and out of the billions of people in the world, you got to experience that yourself... you do it a disservice when you focus on the sadness of missing it. You're burying the.happiness of the memory. You're taking away its power.
I suppose, in closing, I should apologize for following a tangent of preaching love and happiness. But I don't think I'm going to. Our time here is far to short in this universe to not find the simply joy in things. I challenge you to share this with your loved ones, to find and share your happiness with anything and anyone. The clock is always ticking. Don't let time run out.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Today was a very liberating day in lots of ways. Today didn't mark any big anniversaries for me, maybe the beginning of a new one, a date to remember, as a day one remembers simply for having their epiphany in such a way that changes or at least sticks in their life for its remainder.
Today I went to a scary place in my head. It's the scary place in all of our heads, the place where we take all of the bad things we've done, the bad things we've experienced innocently, we wrap them all up in nice little boxes and we keep them there. We don't acknowledge them except in very general and vague terms. When people ask us about these things, we brush off, redirect, or, at most, simply state that they're here inside, locked up.
Today I went to that place. For done reason, I knew it was time. It had to be time. It had to happen, and I was ready.
What happened, what's happening now, what will likely be happening for a while, is most unexpected. It's like a reorganization of faith.
Up until today, I had a good idea about what I believed in, where God fit in, any church, any theological or philosophical proposal, I could give anyone a good idea about how it was all connected. I had no idea that by acting on those principals, that it would cement these fluid beliefs into a certain unique faith.
I actually believe in certain things.
I believe that love is rare, can change lives, and doubles in potency when shared with someone else, be it a dog, a stranger, a kid, an old man.
I believe that there is universal salvation, that nobody will ever suffer more than they do here on this point in space and time.
When we finish with this life, I believe we are present in those who miss us and choose to share our lives with others, that, especially when our life was one filled with love and forgiveness, that the ripple effect our rocks of life have in the ponds of existence will resonate long after we've dropped below the surface.
I believe that God is this simple, a ripple effect in the background, the tide, gently coming and going, reminding us how small we are and how big we can be.
I believe that God isn't always manifested in obvious places. Sometimes God is in a tree, a smile, a hand on your shoulder while you weep, a pain in your abs after a long laugh, a set of eyes your seem to be memorized. Holding a baby. Letting a dog lick your face. A long hug. Saying goodbye. Forever.
Call it what you will. I'm sure there is a proper title for the philosophy behind this, but regardless of what it is, to me, it's something to believe in, something I can see, tangible. I can kiss it, I can touch it, I can laugh or cry or remember what's in my little boxes, or remember what life was like before the boxes.
The key is trust. Faith. Belief. Forgiveness. I said "key" and said four things... They're the same, and it's essential that you have all of them. The hardest part for me was forgiveness. Forgiveness of myself. It's the part that's taken me years to get through, and will likely take new years to complete.
However, I saw it today, the potential, the actual light of having that forgiveness, and it was amazing. Indescribable. Beautiful. Symphonic. Eloquent. Simple.
And so, I share this with love and joy in hopes that it may help someone share some of this love with me. Throw your boxes away. We're here.