Monday, August 3, 2015

Many ways to communicate

As we sit in Brunswick I'm trying to figure out a way to get Facebook posts posted without wifi. We have the Iridium Go hotspot which sends texts and emails without much trouble at all. We were able to post to Facebook, but the stoops at FB removed the email posting feature. Iridium said they are working on a fix but I jumped ahead and figured one out.

Twitter. Yes, I now tweet. When I post a tweet it automatically goes to facebook. I have no other reason to be on twitter other than to do a facebook post from afar. So, no I will not be following the likes of The Donald or Kim Kardashian to read what or who they had for breakfast. I will have a widget on the Blog that shows my tweets. If you don't have Facebook you can still see no more than 140 characters of wisdom from me just by looking at the blog. Things like, "These waves are high. I think I'm gonna hurl", or "Our last 4 slices of bread and I burned the grilled cheese". You might also like, "There's a guy next to us with an actual Peg Leg!", or "They're French Canadian and they're all in Bikinis, and waving me over!", but more likely, "Deb took away my binoculars".

So, we most likely have things covered on the communication front. We have an unlocked phone with no contract. We have sat wifi from which we can make calls, text, email, tweet and post to Facebook and the blog. We get grib files through email and view them with Pocket Grib or Sail Grib. Chris Parker emails us every night and we can get text weather reports. We also have SOS features on three separate sat devices.



We appear good to go unless the USA pisses someone off enough to have them wipe out our satellites, and if that happens there will be worse things to worry about.

I didn't mention SSB because well, we don't have it. The cost of getting outfitted and learning to use it was prohibitive. There is a need for it though and I'm glad other cruisers have it. At one point last season my daughter was trying to get a hold of us while we were in the Exumas. She posted to Facebook and our friends on Magnolia saw this and used the SSB cruisers net to find us and get a message to us. We had a cruiser dinghy over and tell us that Nicole needed to talk to us. This was pretty awesome. Nicole tried to reach us on the sat but we were only turning the thing on in the evenings. With the install of an external antenna this will change.

That's all I have as I try to get back into the world of blogging. 

Have a wonderful day.

Cheers!
PB


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mr. Wobbles goes Downtown. Eats Bush.


Every once in a while Debra and I feel like going out to a bar. It doesn't happen as often as people think, but sometimes we feel the need to hang out and have a few beers and get a bite to eat. Usually there is a happy hour somewhere with drink specials and typically this happens on a Thursday for some reason. Fridays can be crowded with locals getting out of work so we prefer to have a little more elbow room on the off nights. Occasionally, if conditions are right and the mood strikes me, I may get a wee bit carried away and increase my consumption just a tad more than usual. I try to stay on this side of happy but once in a while I cross that border.

It was a Thursday full of work on the boat in the blazing sun and I was ready for a break. This break occurred around three PM which coincided with the happy hour at the local pub here in Brunswick. "Hey Deb! Feel like a happy hour?" Deb mentioned that we never had any lunch and I replied, "We'll eat when we get there"

We arrived by bike at four PM. Debra has her own bike but I have to use one of the marina loaners. The problem with the loaner bikes is that they get abused and some are in rough shape. The good ones become private property because the boaters lock them up at their dock, afraid they will lose their good bike and have to take one of the cripples for a ride. This is a problem because I only seem to get one of two bikes, Mr. Wobbles or Skippy. Mr. Wobbles has a bent rim in the back so when you ride it your butt does the hippy hippy shake. It's comical to watch. Debra and I rode to the grocery store one day and she was behind me laughing while Mr. Wobbles shook things up. Skippy has a limp left pedal which skips. Very annoying. My choice for happy hour was Mr. Wobbles.


We locked up our bikes in the rack near the bar in a little park like square and proceeded to the bar. We grabbed a couple stools and talked to the bartender about the craft brews. For me, the first beer is always quick, especially when it's about one hundred degrees outside. Within twenty minutes I was on my second pint. Debra, being the smarter of the dynamic duo took her time.
Another pint and Deb is talking to some guy named BooBoo and I'm jawing with the bartender about craft beer and wondering if they play anything else but country music here. BooBoo seemed a bit odd so I avoided that conversation and was about to head off to the bathroom when I noticed we only had fifteen minutes left for happy hour. Shit! Not wanting to pay regular pricing on beers I ordered a few more "beat the clock" rounds. I excused myself and took off for the head. Hmm, maybe a slight wobble in my steps. Those extra rounds may not have been a good idea.

Back at the bar Mr. BooBoo was creeping Deb out and she hinted it was time to go. Hating to leave any beer at the bar I downed what was left. I never said I was smart. We popped out into the remaining light of the day and headed for the bike rack. Nothing like fresh air to let you know how wonderful you feel. I was seriously considering leaving Mr Wobbles in the rack and walking but Debra was already on her bike and waiting for me so I got on and took off.

Mister Wobbles and I got off to a fast start and drove straight into a row of bushes at the base of a tree not twenty feet from the bike rack. I was laying there laughing while Debra tried to help me up. She asked if I was OK and I told her I was fine. Just a little wobbly. Damn you Mr. Wobbles. I decided that speed was my best option. If you want to maintain your balance then speed is better. Everyone knows that. So off I went.

I went so fast that Debra lost sight of me. I took a short cut down a side street to the main drag and crossed it without any traffic. I misjudged the ramp leading up to the sidewalk and hit the curb. Mr. Wobbles and I remained upright but the basket flew off the front of the bike and the cable lock went flying like a live snake into the bush. Damn it. After I retrieved my attachments I took another shortcut through an office park. Meanwhile Debra is stopped in the marina parking lot talking to security.
One of the Marina security staff asked Debra if she needed help. "Just looking for my idiot husband", she replied. The security officer laughed out loud as he drove away.

I cut through the buildings of this office park and had one grassy part to negotiate before I hit the marina parking lot. I hit the grass, found out it was dirt and my front tire dug into it and down I went. I literally hit the marina parking lot. Of course the basket and snake like lock went skidding down the pavement. Again I collected my attachments and dusted myself off. Nothing but a few scrapes, so I took off for our dock.

I dropped that ugly bike in the grass, cursing him and possibly giving him a kick or two in the spokes before I made my way to the cockpit of our boat. I listened for Debra and I heard her talking to one of our neighbors on the dock so I went off to sleep. Debra found me intact and sleeping like a baby in the cockpit. 

In the morning I woke up in bed nice and comfy. No headache, no worries except maybe where I left that damn bike. Deb said he was tossed in the grass near the dock, unlocked. Maybe I was hoping someone would steal the damn thing.
Should we ever decide to pop out to a bar again, Mr. Wobbles, Skippy or any other bike will stay on the rack. Debra said walking is much healthier and I have to agree.

A perfect combination of dehydration, no food, exhaustion and beer could have been trouble had I drove Mr Wobbles into a tree or a parked car. I was lucky. Lesson learned. The problem I have now is the whole Marina knows of me and Mr. Wobbles. Word travels fast around here. Now when I'm pulling a bike out of the rack I may get a "Be careful on that thing!" and a smirk.

Cheers! (in moderation)
PJB

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hot Sweaty Fun

Well hello there! Long time no post eh?

Brunswick Georgia is a nice little town. It's also a damn hot and humid bug filled little town as well. It's to the point where any mention of lighting the oven is met with a hard stare and a "seriously?" comment.

We have bugs. Lot's of bugs. Right around dinner time the gnats come in and fly in your face and ears. Apparently I am a gnat magnet and they want to get to my brain through my ears. This drives me absolutely nuts and it can be embarrassing in a crowd when I'm swatting my ears for things no one else sees. "Look at that poor man, bless his heart".

We are in a slip near shore and next to a large power yacht which towers over us. Our boat has very little free board so we feel small. All this means we get very little breeze. Sounds like a lot of whining doesn't it? We kind of bring this upon ourselves for not having any air conditioning I guess. We are surviving with fans and making sure the screens are in before the gnat party starts. All in all it's not bad.

What makes you forget about the heat and bugs are the people here. They are fun.
We have great neighbors and meet new people at every get together. The gatherings are frequent. They have free wine cocktail parties three nights a week and free beer on Saturdays in the marina clubhouse. Most of the folks tolerate my slightly introverted weirdness. Deb will be talking (yes, she talks) to some of the ladies and she will introduce me to them and I can see their faces go, "That poor woman". 

Most of the social activities are at the marinas new clubhouse. This is where you get the free wine and beer. If this existed in NY, the wine would be gone in ten minutes, and there would be drunk guys littered around the keg in the morning. NY can't have nice things.
The clubhouse is an air conditioned (frigid) building containing a bar/dining area, a boaters lounge and laundry facility. Very nice. I'll need to complete a twelve step program before I leave this place.


Work is progressing when we are not sipping wine and socializing. There are too many projects to list right now and I have learned the hard way not to try to accomplish too much in this damn heat. We've had the bottom cleaned, which they charged us double because it was horrible. Time for new bottom paint.

The rigging inspection is in August. We are getting the bottom painted in Titusville. Cheapest so far and we may just do it ourselves when we get there. If the rigging passes inspection and I do not find anything funky when we look at the bottom then we will head to Vero for some doctor visits and re-stocking the boat for adventures in paradise.

That's all I have for now. I am trying to get back into the art of blogging. I'm in a rut after having a rather large and funny post about the Bahamas just vanish on me. Blogger, tablets and Google Drive can be a total pain in the ass sometimes. For word processing you can't beat a plain old laptop, but ours is now in some Microsoft universe where PC's get slower and slower until you are forced to upgrade to a new unit running a new Windows operating system. I refuse. I stripped the laptop of all unwanted software and blocked all windows upgrades. I removed anything remotely suspicious, like the old DVD software that secretly installed about ten other programs that wanted to run all the time. It's running a lot better and might even be useful again after I backed up the 25,000 photos I had stored on it. I used to be better about keeping these PC's running fast, but it reminds me too much of work. I'd upgrade to an Apple product if I had money, but I see Debra bowing her head in defeat with that unit as well. What is comes down to is the fact that we do not always have Internet and these tablets want to store everything to the cloud. We'll get it figured out. Eventually.

Having a good time here. Staying hydrated.
Cheerz,
PJJB




Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tech trouble

I have been very slow in posting to blogger lately. Most of our updates are seen on Facebook on the S/V Kelly Nicole page. The reason for this? I like posting photos alongside the text. It breaks things up a bit and if you don't like what I'm saying or it's a yawner then you can at least look at the pretty pictures.
The blogger app for android is horrible and pretty much useless. I'm using it now and it's been screwing with me just trying to knock out a few paragraphs. If I try to post a photo it might crash and I lose everything. I could go right to the full web version but then I need a magnifying glass to see it on this 7" screen. My bad for not buying the 10" tablet but I'm a cheap ass sailor.
My old HP laptop is basically too busy doing microsoft updates and virus scans to be of any use anymore. Now that we are at the dock I may power it up and let it cook for a few days and maybe the damn thing will be functional again. If that happens then I can start posting again.
When I finally made it to Best Buy to get a USB cable that converts the tiny port on this tablet to a standard USB I was pretty excited to finally move my pics from the camera to the tablet but to my surprise the Tab 4 Samsung cannot be used for this purpose. WTF!
I forced my brain to go to technology mode and I managed to find a solution for both Deb and I. It's a wireless USB port/charger. We can plug any style memory card into it and access it over wifi. Should be here this week.
Deb was losing it yesterday with her iPad2 case from lifeproof because the connector for her Elf GPS did not fit the opening port. I found a LifeProof port extender that should work so now both of us can be happy with our technology again. Maybe. We still have to update the chartplotter and the navionics charts, not to mention the Garmin charts as well.
We have our bottom cleaning scheduled and I should have a rigger out here soon to inspect ours and hopefully gives us a thumbs up else $$. Things are starting to move along despite all the activities here for cruisers. Three happy hours a week and free beer on saturday! I may need a sponsor before I can leave here.
This marina is so damn quiet that we almost want to whisper. I'm not used to this. There should be someone playing terrible music they want the whole marina to hear and boat parties that spill out on the dock so no one can get by. By the way, there are some pretty nice boats here. We're kind of dragging down the neighborhood a bit. I did a quick tour and wow, lots of money afloat in Brunswick. Not sure I'll be pushing Ramones tunes out the cabin while working on projects this summer. Might be frowned upon but I'm one to test the limits s we'll see.
Cheerz,
P

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blog slacker

Hello out there.
Yes, I still have a blog. I actually have a post ready, it just needs some photos to break up my ramblings. For the seven of you still following, it should be out this week but no promises. Oh wait, there are eight of you. Cool. I think my Dad signed on.

We are in a marina now. Hot as balls here. Not much of a breeze to speak of. The fans are running pretty much all the time. We have met some really nice people here so I think it will be a good time unless they find my totally drenched in sweat body repulsive.

I have to stop myself from turning on the anchor light every night. Our last anchorage was supreme. The quietest so far and not a soul around. Now we are surrounded by boats, cars, trains and planes. Quite a shock.

OK, I have to get the boat ready to sit by itself for a few weeks while we risk our lives on I95.

Have a nice day.

Cheers,
PJJB