The Gull Reef Club

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7/12/2017 · 4:22 pm· Trouble · Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right
I've been following the saga and cataloging links of interest that contain more than mere rhetoric.... | Read More

12/23/2016 · 8:43 am· lordhelmet · Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve!
Merry Christmas to you and Mike as well as a Happy New Year!... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
Sure doesn't, which in no way explains why the Cubs won! Interesting that we all woke up this... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 12:21 pm· LH · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
No good deed goes unpunished. But at least the Cubs won.... | Read More

10/28/2016 · 6:42 am· lordhelmet · Official Release – Jaime 2.0
I already voted for Trump of course. He was my last choice in the primaries (I supported Kasich)... | Read More

9/20/2017

Misc For Later

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:18 pm

The following is a list of books and the like that I’ve read this summer. Why yes, I am an adult writing a book(s) report unprompted. I wonder what young Jaime would think of this. Probably wouldn’t be surprised, actually.

Earlier this summer, I read Deborah Blum’s – The Poisoner’s Handbook. This is a well written history of the birth of forensic medicine in NYC and how it came to be accepted as legal evidence. I’m not much of a scientist, but I had no issues following along with the book. Ms. Blum’s writing was articulate, and clearly well-researched. I really loved this book; highly recommended.

Sometime after that, I read a 21-part series in the Pittsburgh Post from 1948 called I Was a Negro in the South for 30 Days. It is hard to say what I think of this. I’m not sure what it was but something struck me as odd or off about it. It won’t take you too long to read so you might as well.

Next up was Barton’s Island, Harl Vincent. 1929 SciFi published in Amazing Stories. Dystopic future setting, with remarkable modern, real-life similarities (although heavily steam punk). It was a good story, but a typical and predictable (ie communist) ending. This is worth reading just for the future predictions and descriptions.

For my Irma reading, I checked out Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre. Having already read Tobacco Road, I sort of knew what I was in for. I had not anticipated it being so full of the Big Fs – fighting and f#*^!ng. Wow did it have a lot of that. In fact, that was pretty much the entire story. So yeah, I loved this book. I really would love to see it made into a tv series. The characters, the Walden family and their associates, are a riot and quite believable. Trigger warning for any of you snowflakes (though I suspect no snowflakes read my blog) – there are some ugly topics covered in this book – racism, patriarchy, sexual aggression. If you can’t handle it, run to your safe space and play with your play-doh.

I think that about sums up my summer (non-news) reading. If you’ve ever read any of these, let me know what you thought.

9/17/2017

First Flounder

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:45 pm

Got this beauty, my first flounder, yesterday. Bank fishing; the boat isn’t all back together yet from the hurricane lock-down. My first catch with my new reel as well, a Pflueger Lady President. Made for an amazing Sunday dinner. Here’s to catching many more!

1stFlounder

9/11/2017

Irma, The Conclusion

Filed under: — Jaime @ 4:01 pm

Irma has descended upon and mostly passed through Savannah. We have some winds and a rain, but nothing really different than any given late summer day. We did lose power briefly but it’s on and steady now. We also lost internet, but it’s Comcast, so this was expected. Mike somehow magically got us online, not sure how, not asking questions. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.

Things are mostly normal except that everything is closed, which is really annoying. I could really go for some Popeyes right about now…or anything we didn’t have to cook ourselves. Actually, everything being closed is not entirely true. Many Chinese food places are open as well as a handful of gas stations/convenient stores. Also, I noted the liquor store on Skidaway was open.

We drove around town today to see how the rest of our little hamlet fared. Overall, pretty well, and way better than Matthew. The fact that we could even drive around is a testament to that. After Matthew, most of the streets were impassible because of downed trees, debris, and power lines. After Irma, most of the streets are passable. The few that are closed are not because of trees, debris, or power lines, but because of storm surge concurrent with the high tide (which happens to be higher than normal tides anyway due to the time of year/moon phase).

On our little tour about the county, we drove out to the islands first, and that turned out to be a fortunate decision. We wanted to inspect the spot where we like to get bait to see where the water level was. Highest I’ve ever seen it. The water had filled all of the banks and was nearing the road. It was like this on most of the roads around the islands. The marshes were swollen and as the tide was approaching it was clear the roads were going to be flooded out. As we were heading off back to the mainland, the cops shut down the road. We jockeyed a bit to make a new route, and got back without issue.

We toured about Midtown next, with not much to see. Lots of power out at intersections, meaning dumb people not remembering how to navigate, but other than that, nothing but minor leaf debris.

Downtown was next. Again, on the mainland, nothing but leaf debris. Even most of the street lights were working. River Street was a different story, however. The tide had peaked just after we got there and the river had overflowed into the first walkway/parking lot areas. In some places, it encroached even further over the road and was nearing the sidewalk along the building side.

Irma Visits River Street
Irma Visits River Street

We’re back home now and fine. Hopefully this is my last post on Irma. Good bye and riddance.

9/10/2017

Irma Watch, Day 5

Filed under: — Jaime @ 12:56 pm

Slowly we creep, inch by inch, closer to…I don’t know what. For the first time since we’ve gone into this round of Hurricane Mode, it is actually overcast. In fact, it is exceptionally cool – only in the 60s. Not much breeze yet, though. This is winter weather to us. Perfect for the Bears season opener against the Falcons – which we’re recording so we don’t have to watch commercials. Don’t ruin it for us.

Things are quiet in Savannah today. We anticipate rain to start later and it will probably keep falling through Monday night. Our house, according to the surge maps, is safe to past a Cat. 5 storm. We’re on some of the highest ground in Savannah outside of downtown. We have the added bonus of our house being on 3 foot stilts. Flooding is not really a concern for us. The rising water would have to get pretty high to hit our house. As for our car, take it, Mother Nature. We want a truck anyway.

Last night Irma started to hit the Florida Keys and making the turn northward. We spent some of our time watching live feeds and news from that area. Miami’s NBC6 has proven to be an informative and interesting source of news. We also found more storm chasers, Ben Holcomb and some friends whose names I didn’t catch, whose commentary was quite funny, although rather sophomoric. They never did show much in the way of weather last night. They are back live now so maybe they will eventually get out of that parking garage…

Well, I better wrap this up before the Bears start and someone on Facebook ruins the game for me. I’ll update if and when there are any updates worth sharing.

Pressure at 1017.86.

Go Bears!

9/9/2017

Irma Watch, Day 4

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:35 pm

Not really much of a watch for us anymore. The latest updates have us completely out of the ‘cone’ of the area to be affected by Irma. It continues to move west and hasn’t made it’s turn north yet. We may see a bit of rain and wind, but I don’t expect it to be any different than any other summer afternoons in the sub-tropics.

CEMA, our local emergency management agency, went forward with the mandatory evacuation. As much as I want to avoid getting political with these hurricane updates, I can’t help but wonder if CEMA’s insistence on keeping the evacuation mandatory is creating a potentially dangerous situation. When the mandatory evacuation order was first issued last Thursday, the recommendation was to go west. As the storm has continued to shift west, it now appears it will run over the path into which all of these folks are headed. It strikes me as irresponsible to send people into that. This goes back to my point from yesterday – you can’t rely on the government’s recommendations or even ‘orders’. You can only use them as guides, educate yourself, and make the most appropriate decision for you and your family.

We are calling off any further hurricane prep for now. In fact, I’m ready to shift into Decorative Gourd Season, M&$*F$*@s!!! I will continue to monitor things, and of course watch some live cams in Florida. If anything new develops, or I have some ridiculously clever/snarky thought, I’ll be sure to share.

Pressure at 1018.07. Stay safe everyone.

9/8/2017

Irma Watch, Day 3

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:06 pm

The latest Hurricane Irma forecasts are remarkably favorable for Savannah. Current track has her heading quite west of here. We have yet another brilliantly sunny, slightly breezy, and rather cool day here in Savannah.

We are cautiously optimistic we don’t have to go into full-on hurricane mode. I would be greatly relieved if we can avoid having to do all of the most difficult prep, particularly the guitar breakdown. That was really hard and costly to put back together for Matthew.

As it stands now, we’re prepping to stay and likely won’t evacuate despite the evacuation order not having been lifted. This is why we don’t follow government evacuation orders. We use them as guides instead, and educate ourselves on how to read the weather so we can make the most informed decision for ourselves. One size does not fit all and the government can never know what’s best for us as individuals. They can only make recommendations for the whole community. It’s up to you to know how to use their recommendation to craft a plan that is best for you and your family.

Where we’re at now is to shift our priorities to securing things outdoors in anticipation of winds and rain. We’ve pretty much ruled out evacuating, but will continue to monitor things in the event we need to revise again. That’s pretty much what we have to do for this – watch, wait, revise, repeat.

Pressure at 1018.80 millibars, and it appears to be rising. Go figure. It’s as peaceful as a hurricane eye around here…

Irma Watch, Sandman Edition

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:07 am

The most recent forecast for The Gull Reef Club and surrounding area was a significant improvement over the last few. Clearly still too early to tell anything, but as of right now Irma is still tracking west. If the forecast holds up, by the time it turns, it will be pretty west of here; meaning, we would certainly be hit with some sort of tropical storms, but nothing nothing we couldn’t handle.

We are still prepping like we’re going to be hit hard. The evacuation order is for 8am Saturday. We are reasoning we have all day tomorrow and probably some of Saturday to decide if we really are going to leave. In fact, it’s not really supposed to hit here until overnight Sunday into Monday, so we may have more time to batten down the hatches. This is good because we seem to have a lot of hatches.

Earlier tonight a lyric from America’s song Sandman popped into my head, “He flies the sky / like an eagle in the eye / of a hurricane that’s abandoned.” I was confused and inquired of Mike as to how one abandons a hurricane. He clarified it’s the eagle who is abandoned not the hurricane. Duh! How did I miss that? I am so grateful to him in times like this! That and the million other things he’s done/doing to secure our house.

Sleep soon. Tomorrow will be a long day with lots of hard labor. This is an endurance race.

9/7/2017

Irma Watch, Day 2

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:49 am

Not much to report yet. Things always look positive in the mornings. In fact, it was a bit hazy, but otherwise sunny and clear this morning when I rode into work.

It did just occur to me that this is tracking to hit us on 9/11. So we have that going for us.

I ran a search of our house’s entire music collection for Hurricane songs, because of course, every Hurricane needs to be scored. One gem I found that I didn’t know we owned and don’t recall ever hearing is Florida Hurricane, by St. Louis Jimmy Oden and Muddy Waters. ‘Some speak of tornadoes, the hurricane be worst of all.’

Pressure at 1016.9, seems to be rising, but it will begin dropping soon enough. Stay tuned.

9/6/2017

Irma Watch, Day 1

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:44 pm

Ok, I’ve actually been tracking this mega-sized hurricane for a few days now, but since it is the first day I’m writing about it, we’ll call it Day 1. We’re pretty far out so there isn’t much to do yet, but watch and wait. Mike did resupply us on bottled water and non-perishables. Even before Matthew we were relatively well prepared to ride out any low level hurricanes. This one’s a Cat 5, though, biggest ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin. I’d be lying to say I’m not concerned or stressed, but I also know there is no reason to freak out.

So far it seems the locals are trying to be prepared. There certainly has been a run on water in most area stores. Of course, a lot of it was sent to Texas so I’m not sure how much that is affecting supply. As far as I know, no gas lines, but don’t quote me on that. I rarely go to gas stations (ironic if you knew the 17 year old me, eh?). Most businesses plan to stay open, although I have read that Gulfstream, one of the largest employers in our county, plans on closing all but essential operations starting Friday.

The plan at this point is to monitor things and prepare like we are going to evacuate as well as ride out a storm. We won’t actually make the decision to leave until at least Saturday, but the smartest move is plan for everything. Plan on leaving and plan for staying. The only thing we don’t have planned is where we will go. Any takers for two adults and three, well-behaved cats?

Right now the best bet is to make sure I get proper sleep while I can. I distinctly recall that ‘weariness’ was an overriding theme during Matthew so I better stock up now. Proper sleep can make all the difference.

The current barometer reading at The Gull Reef Club is 1013.80 millibars. I’ll try to keep you all posted while I can.

8/28/2017

2017! Live and Uncensored!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:16 pm

May You Live in Interesting Times – ancient Chinese curse.

This phrase always seems relevant, doesn’t it? The latest example of its relevancy came on Friday night. Hurricane Harvey was making landfall, and having experienced our own hurricane less than a year ago, I wanted to keep up with this one as events occurred. So, the TV was turned on and we jumped around various news/weather channels, and of course, we also dug down online to find anyone broadcasting directly from the Gulf Coast Texas area.

The most erroneous assumption we made both this time and during Hurricane Matthew was to tune into The Weather Channel first. The Weather Channel is the absolute worst place any one can go to get current, on-the-ground information. Their routine was exactly the same both during Matthew and Harvey. Two or three people on the ground at a location they never leave, and some studio folks. They bounce back and forth between them and repeat themselves, ad naseum. Once you’ve seen about 5 minutes of their coverage, you don’t need to see any more. It just cycles.

The web was the place to be to watch this come in, real-time. Advances in online technology have us in a place where folks can now broadcast live from their own homes. We scoured the usual places for any live feeds we could find. Of those we saw, the most compelling was the live stream run by storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski. His live videos were one of the most riveting things I’ve watched all year. I distinctly recall saying to Mike, after the roof of the carwash Mr. Piotrowski was sheltering in blew off, “Are we prepared to watch this guy die live on the internet?” It was so intense watching it, I actually found myself getting out of my chair and standing anxiously (like my brother does during hockey games lol). We watched the view count and it never reached more than 50-60k people watching. It was an oddly intimate experience for the internet (and the reason only a small handful of us understand why The Blue Shed twitter feed exists). Mr. Piotrowski still has the videos from his live feeds on his twitter account. Worth watching.

This is where we are in 2017. I don’t trust the mainstream news much anymore. I don’t trust second hand sources, really, much at all anymore. However, as it stands right now, I can trust live video. I can trust that it will be raw and uncensored. I can believe it when I see it, if it’s live. I realize that as tech advances, this won’t always be true. We will eventually have the ability to fake live video too. As it stands in 2017, live is trustworthy. Live is uncensored. Live is real.

Stay safe, Texas.

8/23/2017

Adventure Heartache

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:51 pm

Not much is worse than having adventure plans ruined. It’s heartbreaking, really. We had planned to experience the eclipse by staying at campground on the Altamaha River. We thought we had it right. We weren’t so stupid to think we could tent camp in August in Georgia. We found a place that rented RVs and had a boat launch. This was going to be our first adventure with our motor boat. Seemed like a perfect getaway to enjoy the celestial event of our lifetime.

Everything was going as planned. The campground was beautiful, and right on the river. The RV was not. It was a former DHS camper, probably a FEMA camper and it was gross. It smelled funny and was bug infested. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize the bug problem until well after dark – when the bugs came out. We spent an incredibly restless night, fearing that roaches were crawling all over us. In fact, Mike spent most of the night outside at the picnic table, awake.

We tried to be good troopers and carry on after that horrible, restless night. It was now Monday, eclipse day. We planned to launch on the Altamaha early and stay there all day to view the eclipse. Despite how tired we were, we managed to launch and set out. We headed toward the ‘forks’, which is the confluence of the Altamaha, Oconee, and Ocmulgee Rivers. We didn’t even make it as far as the first bridge before some branches got us and spun our prop, destroying it. We managed to limp back on minimal power (fortunately no paddling!). At this point, it was about 10a and were we done. F*%^ THIS S#!+. We’re going home.

We packed up faster than any other pack-out ever and set off to come home. There was a slight chance we’d make it back by the time the eclipse was to be in full force, so we at least had that to aim for. However, the stress was not quite over yet. Mother Nature decided to unleash a vicious downpour on us on the ride home. Ever tow a boat in the rain? Avoid it if you can. The stress is insane. We ended up stopping twice to drain the boat, once at a car wash in Reidsville and another time nearly back home in Pooler. There was never a chance for us in SE GA to view the eclipse because of the storms.

We finally made it home and spent Tuesday unpacking (me) and on boat repair (Mike). This whole experience was pretty bad, but I’m trying to be positive about it. It was a learning experience anyway, and of course, it won’t stop us from trying again. Yet, it still hurts to have your adventures quashed.

Was the fact that the Simon & Garfunkel song ‘Homeward Bound’ came on our mix on the way out a sign? An omen not to go, perhaps? Regardless, if that song ever comes on while we are setting out on our adventure, I’m turning it off. No ‘Homeward Bound’ when you’re outbound.

Chanson de l’éclipse: Nothing But a Heartache, The Flirtations.

8/14/2017

Checked Out

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:33 pm

Another weekend of depressing news, and I find myself further checking out from, well, everything. Since I can’t fully remove myself from society, I can concentrate on checking out and focusing on things that are interesting and/or educate me and keep me out of the mainstream loop.

In that vein, I was recommended to check out the works of horror manga author Ito Junji. Before I located any of his horror manga, I first stumbled into Ito Junji’s Cat Diary. I became an instant fan. I highly recommend reading this. It’s a really short read. It manages to capture cat ownership in a very precise and hilarious way. Give it a read. You’ll love it, if only because it means you get to go for a whole hour (or so) without hearing the words “Nazi” or “Antifa”.

Definition of Irony: Listening to Roger Water’s Amused to Death as I decry social participation by sinking into comic books.

8/7/2017

Gar!? Grr…

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:15 pm

Went fishing yesterday, and landed this monster, an Alligator Gar, I believe:
GatorGar8-7-17

Didn’t keep him, of course. Too much work to filet from what I read online. I did tear up my right hand pretty good on him, but thankfully he didn’t bite me. Those teeth!

If I’m wrong on this fish, please let me know. We were in brackish water (one of the creeks off the Wilmington River). From what I read, Alligator Gar do not normally live in saltwater, but can and sometimes do, especially in LA and TX. I’m trying to learn them by sight, so if anyone has any better information than what I found, I’m all fins.

7/13/2017

That’s What I Like About the South

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:48 pm

This month marks our 16 year anniversary of living in the South. I’ve been keeping this blog for over 13 years, so most of our time down here. I started poking around, and noticed I’ve never articulated why we moved here, and why we’ve stayed. I guess now is as good of a time as any, right?

Background first. We have to go to December 1999. Y2k was going to destroy modern life as we knew it. The internet was young, unfettered, and fun. Bill Clinton was on his way out, and we were looking toward a ‘path to the 21st century.’ Optimism seasoned with the right amount of Gen X cynicism abound.

On the personal level at that time, we were living in northern Illinois, young 20 somethings, trying to figure out what to do with our lives. I toyed with the idea of going to law school but that would have likely tied us to Illinois, possibly forever. While I wasn’t 100% certain, my hunch said that could be a bad idea.

Then came the big event – New Years 1999. We planned to enjoy the night as Prince intended. Through the good graces of being friends with an all-around awesome guy who happens to be a pilot, we spent a few days ringing in that famous new year at a concert in a cow pasture on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation just north of Alligator Alley in South Florida. That story in itself deserves its own post, and someday maybe you’ll get it. For now, focus on the fact that I was exposed to a South Florida winter climate in December/January.

New Years 1999 was the first time in my life I had experienced warm winter weather and it changed my thinking forever. I hated winter, but despite that, spent my first 22 winters in Illinois, where it is miserable from November to April. I didn’t know any better, until Y2k New Years…and then I did.

All that winter of 2000, I couldn’t stop thinking about those people living in South Florida. They were warm. They were doing outdoor activities. They could open their windows and get fresh air. Meanwhile I was stuck breathing recycled indoor air or the noxious scent of catalytic converters that always seem to linger on cold days in Illinois. Fortunately for me, Mike felt the same way.

We stuck it out that winter but talk of leaving was getting more frequent and more serious. We opted to wait for the election before really deciding if we were going to make a change or not. So Bush v. Gore, yadda, yadda.

It just so happened that the winter of 2000-2001 was the 2nd coldest and snowiest on record for our area at the time. It truly was one of the nastiest winters in Illinois we experienced. December 2000 alone dropped over 30 inches of snow on us. At the time, we were living on a busy street that got plowed and salted often. This necessitated multiple shovelings of the drive, but because it got salted it was really a hard ice mound that had to be broken up before shoveling. So everyday Mike or I would come home, park somewhere other than our street, shovel the drive out, go back to get the car to park, park it in the drive, and repeat to get back out. It was hell.

We eventually dug out of both that winter and that election. We had a president. We had springtime. We found ourselves with both a renewed sense of patriotism and hatred for winter. The national pride led us to want to spend Memorial Day 2001 in Washington D.C. The winter hate had us diverting part of that D.C. trip to the Savannah area to visit some family of Mike’s and start shopping for a new city.

It didn’t take us long to fall in love with Savannah. In fact, after we returned to Illinois from our trip at the end of May, we both put in our resignations at our jobs. By July 2 (or give or take a day, it’s really hazy) we were officially in Georgia. We have been living here ever since.

Why was Georgia such an attractive option to 20 somethings 16 years ago? Well, weather – duh. Besides that, income and taxes also seriously played into our decision. Coming from Illinois, we were struggling to get a start financially. Despite both of us having pretty good jobs, the cost of living in Illinois was an obstacle. We were not amassing much in savings because living expenses were too high. We, therefore, could not pay down debt quickly nor build a nest egg to buy a house. Even if we could have overcome that, the ever mounting tax burden in Illinois is outlandish. Spinning tires.

Over time, I’ve come to prefer the politics, philosophies, and values held by my fellow citizens of Georgia over those in Illinois. Georgia is by no means a utopia. We have plenty of problems to address, but I’d take our brand of problems over Illinois’ any day.

There are a few aspects about Illinois that I miss. Primarily this comes in the form of diversity in restaurant and entertainment options. Being near a big city like Chicago put us in touch with an overwhelming number of ethnic foods to eat and great concerts to see. Down in Savannah, not so much. I’d so love to have a proper gyro or a pizza puff right now, but they simply do not exist here. I’ve made peace with this though. Moreover, it’s taught us how to be very good cooks.

As for the concerts? We have made peace with that too. Plus, we really do not prefer to go out much in that way anymore. We are more inclined to do something active, outdoors, and away from other people. That is certainly more an age thing than a change in geography thing, so it’s all worked out.

That Y2k trip to Florida was a fateful one, setting off a course of events that would lead us to Savannah, and stay, so far, for 16 years. I can’t say we’re here to stay, but Savannah does have a curse – May You Never Change. Only time will tell if that includes us now, too.

7/11/2017

Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:12 pm

Pandora is yelling at me to leave the box alone, but here I go anyway…

I really want to talk (or ‘open a dialogue’ in modern parlance) about the alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election, but am finding it quite difficult. The difficulty for me lies in the fact that half of you have come to a completely different position than I have, and that the facts upon which you base your position is a completely different set of facts than I am using. We can’t have this discussion if our realities are different. I end up thinking you are crazy or ignorant and you will think the same of me.

In the civil litigation world, we address fact issues in summary judgment by submitting a Statement of Undisputed Facts or in pre-trial by submitting a list of evidence we intend on relying upon at trial. Leading up to that, we often swap expert reports in an effort to show our expert has the most proper understanding of the facts. We don’t have it so clean or easy here. We can’t even agree whose experts to believe (Washington Post? CNN? NYTimes? Zerohedge? Breitbart? Wikileaks?).

At this spot in my post, I’m supposed to come up with some sort of conclusion statement to close things out. I can’t even do that. So – конец. Feel free to use my space to discuss this, but know that there’s a 50% chance 50% of us think you’re wrong.

6/26/2017

Time to Pay the Piper, Illinois

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:58 pm

The dire financial situation of the Illinois state government has been in the news a lot lately. Their lack of proper budgets due to politicians who can’t get their act together is at the heart of this issue. Every government funded agency is suffering up there right now, including the state-run universities, one of which is my alma matter.

The desperation is now being put on full display in the notable increase of third-party solicitations I am receiving through my alumni society. In the past, I would get one maybe every six months. I was hit with two of them today, before noon, and one over the weekend. So I guess I need to expect that my alma mater is now selling my alumni information to any third-party that will buy it. This is not going to earn them much money but it will certainly bring the animosity of those who dislike their information being sold. I’m leaning toward leaving the the alumni society over this. I’m not your band aid, and at this point Illinois, you need far more than any band aid could offer anyway. Perhaps it’s time to start selling your assets, Land of Lincoln?

Reason #6226 I am glad I left that stink state almost 16 years ago.

6/19/2017

The Maiden Voyage

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:47 pm

Yesterday, Mike and I took our new (to us) boat out for its maiden voyage. It’s nothing fancy, a wide 14’ johnboat with a 15hp engine. Just enough to get us around the Intracoastal Waterways and other local, non-ocean waters.

While we know we have a lot to learn, for our first trip, we did a really good job in preparing ourselves. I do know for next time that I won’t forget my binoculars. I didn’t realize how helpful those would have been while out there. Kayaking really put us in a good position to have quality pre-launch and load-out checklists. Maybe we’re just ‘checklist people’ but I really can’t imagine being out on the water without one. Safety first, ya know? I’m also going to have to figure out something to keep me sun-free(ish). Despite applying SPF 50 every hour I still burned. I know I have options, I just have to decide what works best for me.

The highlight of our first boat trip was a completely unexpected one. Before I get into that, a little background – last November, when Mike and I first started fishing down here, we needed to learn how to filet what we were catching. We turned to that great online educator – Youtube – and searched for instructional videos. As with most Youtube self-learning attempts, we had to sort through a lot of overly produced and under informative crap to find anything useful.

Eventually, Mike found a series of videos by an older gentleman who clearly knows everything there is to know about fishing the coastal Georgia waters and more. Not only were his videos without the usual narcissistic over production you so often see, he also shares our attitude about how to approach/handle any project – if you’re going to do it, do it right.

The name of the guy who hosts these videos – Captain Vince Russo – seemed really familiar to us and so did the accent (if you’ve ever heard an authentic Savannah-tinged Southern accent you’ll never forget it.). A couple of searches online lead us to realize that Captain Vince Russo is a member of a locally famous seafood family. They have been in the business since just after WWII. It was no wonder he seemed familiar – he was a local celebrity (as much as one can be a celebrity in wee little Savannah). In the videos, Captain Russo was using this great knife he mentioned he also sold. Because they have a local store, Mike was able to pick up one of these knives locally. It was really useful for us to make that connection last November.

Fast forward to yesterday – Mike and I are puttering around one of the smaller rivers, actually called a creek on the maps, and found ourselves near some residences with private docks. As we approach one of them, Mike asks me if the guy we see on a dock up ahead is Captain Russo. He had his head down and was cleaning fish on a very nice cleaning station set up on his own dock. The setting looked familiar (like the videos), but I wasn’t 100% sure. The quantity of fishing equipment and the like on the dock indicated this guy was really into fishing, so it could have been him. We went past, waved (everyone waves when you’re boating. It’s so friendly and wonderful), and went on for a bit. We eventually hit a point where we decided to turn around.

On the way back, Mike said he was going to ask the guy if he was Captain Russo. Being relatively unsocial, I told Mike I would back him up if he said something first, but I didn’t have the nerve to start the conversation. As we’re idling past, Mike asks him if he was Captain Russo and indeed – he was! We told him how much we loved his videos and how they were integral in our learning how to filet redfish. We were then honored with an invitation to tie up and come onto his dock to watch him clean a red, some trout, and some flounder. Um – our fishing guru just asked us to watch an in-person, one-on-one lesson?!? YES PLEASE.

We ended up spending almost an hour with Captain Russo. He showed us some useful techniques and methods for fileting local fish. He also gave us so much advice on where and when to fish. Not only that, he has so much experience and is an amazing story teller. What he taught was absolutely invaluable. I am still a little stunned at what an amazing coincidence meeting him was, and how kind and generous he was for inviting us up, and on Father’s Day weekend no less. We are so grateful we chanced upon him when we did. There is nothing I can think of that would have made yesterday better.

I think it’s official. We’re boat people. I’m already starting to ruminate living on a boat for our retirement years. I’m that hooked.

See you on the water!

6/12/2017

Fly’s Eyes

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:57 pm

Anyone remember this little gem, c. 1988?

Fly’s Eyes, Heywood Banks

6/8/2017

WTFH, 1st Edition – Is Your Dog An Ally of the Kaiser?

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:15 pm

For a few years now, I’ve been amassing research for my ‘WTFH’ project. I have finally found what I think is the perfect first edition for this series.

First off, I’m sure you’re wondering, what does WTFH mean? Well, I think you can figure out the WTF part. The H stands for History. I have been gathering news articles, illustrations, and advertisements that feature bizarre and unusual items from our American past. I get these mostly from the Library of Congress, but also other places that post historical newspapers. I have intentionally avoided the more controversial historic topics. I would hope that we’re all somewhat well-versed on that. My focus is the bizzare, the odd, the things that make you say WTF, History?! I’d actually prefer to use a better name for this feature, but until I (or you) come up with one, WTFH it is.

Without further ado, please let me present to you the following illustration I saw last night:

Is Your Dog An Ally of the Kaiser?

Dog Ally Kaiser (1917)

It is dated to June 1917, and I’ve seen it posted on various days in a few papers during this time period, mostly in Tennessee. Credit for this specific image goes to the Jackson County Sentinel, June 21, 1917, page 4. Direct link: LOC, Jackson County Sentinel.

Be sure that your dog is worth to you what he costs this country.

Just a slice of the odder side of American news history. Presumably, this caused you to pause and ask yourself – WTF was that I just read?

I anticipate posting more of these. I have at least 40 items in my folder at home waiting to be shared. If nothing else, I hope you to conclude, as I have, that our present is no more or less screwy than the past.

5/10/2017

Life as a Libra (perpetually seeking balance)

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:42 pm

Half of me can’t help but think that we’re living in a Roger Waters scored dystopia and the other half chortles, then reminds the 1st half that this is nothing new and to keep studying history just to be sure.

Goodbye little spy in the sky.
They say that cameras don’t lie.
Am I happy, am I sad, am I good, am I bad?

The Gull Reef Club