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

4/9/2018

My friend, my friend, (s)he’s got a knife

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:05 pm

As much as I am trying to move away from following current politics for the sake of my own sanity, the occasional stupidity bleeds in and I feel compelled to comment.

The most recent, bleeding stupidity comes from the Mayor of London, who stated, after a rash of stabbings in his city, “No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife.” (Reference: Mayor of London, Twitter Feed)

Oh yeah, Mayor Khan? I guess this tiny woman didn’t need her daily-carry knife to open all her mail? Nor did I need it when I cut off a loose string from my sweater? What about my dinner plans? That delicious butcher beef is not going to cut itself.

There are times when politicians say the most ridiculous things to convey the illusion that they are reacting to issues of popular concern. This is one of them.

Just another reason to be thankful that I live in the great state of Georgia where knives are not weapons, but people-stabbers are criminals. It is sad someone of such education is unable or unwilling to make the distinction, and chooses histrionics instead.

3/28/2018

Adventure Log: Stephen C. Foster State Park, Okefenokee Swamp

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:12 pm

Destination: Stephen C. Foster State Park, Okefenokee Swamp

Dates: March 13-16, 2018

Monday 12th – We were supposed to leave this day, but nasty weather came in Sunday night and lingered into Monday. Fortunately, I had the whole week off, so we had enough flexibility that we could just leave Tuesday.

Tuesday 13th – On the road by 9:06a.m. 197 miles from our house to SCF. We have started a tradition of stopping at the Dunkin Donuts at the I-95 exit in Kingsland adding just a few extra miles. The coffee is (almost) always worth it. They have, apparently, discontinued coconut donuts, which was a great disappointment to me.

We arrived shortly after 1pm. It was bright, sunny, and in the low 60s – I think. We didn’t bring a thermometer with us (note: put one the list for next time), and we had no way to check the weather. The park is completely without wifi that we could find, nor could we get any cell signal of any sort. We were truly remote. It’s always a refreshing feeling. I feel bad for people who get anxiety if they turn off their electronics, and disdain for people who think they are so important that they can’t.

We got the tent up in short order. Inside, while setting up, I saw the shadow of two butterflies fly over the tent. Burned that image right into my brain. Turns out they were two swallowtails and they hung around most of the day. Welcome to camp!

We had dinner early. Cheese steaks, apple sauce and chips. Yes, somehow we managed to pull cheese steaks off in the middle of nowhere. It was kind of impressive.

Because we had eaten before the sun went down, we had a little time to try to fish the boat basin. We had to stock ourselves with some freshwater fishing tackle because we’re geared up for saltwater at home. Ultimately, it didn’t matter. Those fish in the basin, which we saw plenty of, did not want anything we could throw at it. Not really a surprise. It was a beautiful way to enjoy the sunset. Back at camp, we lingered around the fire until bed.

Wednesday 14th – We planned to let ourselves ‘sleep in’ this day, and were up by 8:30a. The wind was already blowing and gaining strength as the sun warmed things. High winds can make kayaking unfun, however, so we planned to head down to the boat basin and check things out. Indeed, it was windy and felt cooler than Tuesday.

We opted to take a short paddle toward Mixon’s Hammock. We wanted to check it out again, not having been there since our magical Christmas Eve night 2016. Technically, we weren’t allowed to go stop at Mixon’s because we didn’t have permits. It just so happens we met the very people who did for that day/night right there at the basin. Dan, and his son Maximillian, were packing up their canoe getting ready to go out. We got to chatting with them, and they invited us out to see the island. In return, we, ok fine – Mike – carried a load of firewood for them in his kayak. It was going to be a cold night and they were pretty loaded down as it was. Pretty fair exchange, if you ask me.

Mixon’s Hammock was as lovely as ever. The water level was certainly higher than last time making it much easier to get in – especially over that one big log you have to paddle over right before you get there. I hated that log much less than last time. The campsite was pretty much the same, although sans the snazzy improvised log bench Mike made. We suspect someone burned it. It can be difficult to scavenge firewood on that small of an island.

We paddled back, and while we enjoyed it, we were glad it was going to be the only paddle of the day. We had a quick lunch at the boat basin to ensure we were on time for the 2pm tour.

The tour was a perfect way to spend the chilly, windy day. The tour was informative, and I learned and re-learned a number of things about the swamp. For example, I can’t un-see mistletoe growing in its parasitic way on its host tree. (How did I not see that before? It’s everywhere).

Yes, we saw alligators – every day we were there. It was too cold for them to move much. They don’t bother you even when they do move much. I’ll spare you my diatribe about Florida tourism and it’s damage to people’s perception of gators, but remind me. I’d like to rant on that some time.

The highlight of the tour were the white ibis. Thousands of them. Shortly into our tour, masses of them flew over the boat, heading in the direction we were heading. They roosted in the trees ahead of us. We eventually landed near the shore. We watched them some more as some roosted while others waded down low in the grasses away from the shore. The sun was so brilliant, with no clouds, that their white feathers seemed to glow. Seeing them was magnificent and unforgettable.

Back at camp, we had dinner. This night it was chicken gumbo. Mike made it the week before, froze it, and vacuum sealed it. It was the perfect dinner for what was shaping up to be a chilly night. Nothing beats a nice, spicy filé gumbo. We followed that up by a kick ass campfire. Mike really out did himself with that one. We warmed up by the fire with a cup of cocoa (for me) and hot tea (Mike).

Then bed. Remarkably, it wasn’t all that cold that night in our tent. We have pretty warm sleeping bags, and a space heater. It is a little weird wearing a hat to bed, but sort of fun, too. All in all, we both slept well enough.

Thursday, March 15th – Big paddle day. We had hoped to get up and out on the water early to maximize our time. We were up by 8:30a and on the water just before noon. Probably a little later than we wanted, but still plenty of time. Our first destination was east to Billy’s Island. This was a quick, easy paddle – just over two miles. Once at the island, we walked the entire trail. Seeing the remnants of some abandoned logging equipment was pretty cool. Of course, it inspired me to watch numerous, early 20th century logging videos once I got home to try to figure out what I was seeing and how it worked.

There was also a little cemetery on Billy’s Island. I believe it is called the Lee Family Cemetery. It was a bit old, with the few interred there having passed in the later 1800s/early 1900s. It was surrounded with a very tall chain link fence, and there were a few downed branches inside. I had to resist every urge not tear down the fence and clean it up. Chain link fences have no business on a historic island like that, especially surrounding a cemetery. I get that they are trying protect the cemetery, but there has to be a better way. It was garish. Those buried there deserve better. Regardless, our time at Billy’s Island was pleasant and a nice first stop for the day.

We continued our paddle by heading back west on Billy’s Lake, and made the turn north toward Minnie’s Lake. We made it as far as the Minnie’s Lake Day Shelter before turning around to head back to camp. I hold precious memories of the Day Shelter on Minnie’s Lake. During our first trip to the Swamp in November 2014, we made a stop at the Day Shelter. At that time, there were abundant yellow flowers all in bloom. It was so bright and such a visually overwhelming scene. I remember feeling true serenity there. Coming back to a place that I held so dear, and seeing it in a different season, was so grounding. I don’t know about you, but it’s not often that I get to feel a true sense of belonging. In ‘society’ there is always someone or something that makes me feel awkward, annoyed, uncomfortable, or simply an outsider. There, for that late lunch break at the Day Shelter, I was where I belonged, completely comfortable, completely me. I desperately want to return.

Quick question – which one of you graffitied the Day Shelter to say ‘Kayak Naked’ – and…did you???

The paddle back to camp was pleasant until we hit Billy’s Lake again. On the open water we experienced the roughest paddling all trip. The winds were pretty gusty and blowing against us, not to mention the current, what little of it there is, was also against us. Fortunately, we have experience paddling the Skidaway and Wilmington Rivers here in Savannah, which are tidal, and can be rough even on the nicest of days, so this wasn’t too bad. Knowing that it was the last paddle of our trip certainly didn’t make it any easier.

We made it back to camp a little later than we wanted, meaning dinner got started late, which is never good when you’re famished. Adding to the un-fun, we learned our air mattress had sprung a leak. Mike went into his zone and worked to get the fire started, dinner started, and fix the air mattress, all while I showered and then started packing things to leave. Unfortunately, the air mattress was not patchable. Insert a little while of extreme stress and frustration here. This absolutely sucked; It was ugly there for bit. That is all I plan on saying about those hours of stress. It is not really worth dwelling over, because within three or so hours, we were past it. We finally managed to eat some dinner (Dublin coddle), and made up for the rest of the evening with an amazing fire and kick ass smores. No night is ever ruined if it ends with a relaxing fire and smores.

We got to bed pretty late this night. Nearly 2 am, if I recall correctly. Yes, we slept on the ground. Well, technically we had the flattened air mattress, then blankets that we put down, then our sleeping bags. We also had the space heater so, all in all, it wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t even all that sore when we woke up the next day to take down camp.

Friday, March 16th. Packed up. Went home.

If you look at a map of the paddle trails, it doesn’t seem like we covered all that much of the swamp. We calculated that we paddled about 9 miles on the second day. I feel pretty confident that we can make farther trips into the Swamp, and try some more overnighters that are farther away than Mixon’s Hammock. Mike and I have discussed our desire to paddle across or more fully navigate the entire Swamp. Seems like a lofty goal, but one I think we can meet. It will take some planning, but that is part of the fun. I wonder how many people can lay claim to having traversed the entire swamp? I want to be one of them.

Counting the minutes until we can return.

2/21/2018

Yucky. Yucky. Bad. Ok.

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:24 pm

There is something a bit refreshing when it comes to the blather of very small children and very old people. They have no filters and can say whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want with little repercussion.

Today’s example brings us to Broughton Street. It is yet another lovely day in Savannah, and so there were a lot of people walking around town this afternoon. Among the moving crowds on the sidewalk was a lady pushing her daughter in a stroller. I estimate she was about two or so – the daughter not the lady. As the little girl was being pushed, she was looking at other groups of people passing, pointing to these various people, and declaring her immediate assessments of “Yucky. Yucky. Bad. Ok. Yucky. Ok. Bad.”

I think I was either an Ok or a Bad. Her pointing skills still need some work. I don’t think the fat woman in the tube top and yoga pants liked that she was declared Yucky, but the stroller kid was moving along too quickly for it to become a scene. Gotta say, the kiddo seemed pretty spot on.

Don’t you wish you could be filter-less like that without repercussion? It could be glorious…sometimes.

2/19/2018

Gnatty Dread

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:28 pm

Spring is springing all around Savannah, which also means the return of the sand gnats. We finally got a chance to get out on the boat yesterday for the first time this year. We didn’t ask the gnats to come along, but they did anyway. Despite my efforts to keep them at bay, including dousing myself in 30% Deet multiple times in just a few hours, they swarmed and feasted.

Sand gnats and mosquitos are both evil, blood-sucking bugs, but the sand gnats are far more relentless and pervasive than the mosquitos. Mosquitos are mostly predictable – they come out as the sun is rising or setting and near water sources. They are bigger, too, so you can see them easier to squish them. Sand gnats are a different story. They are harder to see, they don’t give AF about the time of day, and they live in the sand, which is essentially all of our soil here on the coast. Not only that, they don’t actually bite like mosquitos do, they scrape/chew away your skin and drink up your blood that way. The worst part about the sand gnats is that they will chew you anywhere – scalp, underarms, and yes, even your face.

While on the boat yesterday, the gnats did indeed, get me on my face. They chewed a line on my right cheek, just under where my sunglasses were sitting. When we got home, we first noticed this, and it looked like I had been hit in the face. The swelling was down some this morning, but since it is itchy, I must have been scratching it in my sleep, so it is still red. I had sort of forgotten about it until I started getting curious looks from co-workers. Everyone has been too polite to say anything, but I could see their expressions change once they saw it. There were looks of slight concern, which I appreciate, but are completely unnecessary. It was just bugs. I’ll be fine.

2/7/2018

Phone SPAM – Patterns

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:21 pm

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, I get a lot of SPAM phone calls to my office line. I keep a log of them; not for any specific purpose, but it is amusing to track.

One of the key things these phone spammers do is to spoof their phone number. This means they use a service to make your caller ID read whatever they want it to say, and hope to entice you to answer. That is how some of them make it look like they are the IRS or the local police calling you.

In December, the phone spammers started using a spoofing pattern. It continued through January when I finally noticed it. It basically consists of an area code, followed by a random number and then 01-0355. So – (Area Code)#01-0355. I’m sure you can see it pretty easily, in my log below:

12/4/2017 1:48p (303)201-0355
12/5/2017 5:01p (303)201-0355
1/11/2018 9:46a (213)201-0355
1/11/2018 11:35a (213)201-0355
1/11/2018 2:27p (213)201-0355
1/11/2018 5:49p (213)201-0355
2/1/2018 11:01a (734)301-0355
2/1/2018 11:43a (734)301-0355
2/1/2018 1:37p (612)001-0355
2/1/2018 4:01p (559)501-0355
2/1/2018 7:05p (925)201-0355
2/5/2018 4:30p (925)201-0355
2/6/2018 5:09p (612)601-0355
2/6/2018 5:35p (612)601-0355
2/6/2018 6:50p (612)601-0355
2/7/2018 11:53a (612)601-0355

I answered the call that came in on February 5 at 4:30p. That time the caller ID said ‘Pleasanton, GA’. I knew it was a spammer since they were already on my log and fit the pattern. The call started as a recording from ‘Heather’ who wanted to let me know that they can consolidate my high interest credit cards (funny, since I don’t have any of those). I pressed a few buttons to talk to an operator. When I finally got through to someone, a very thick-accented woman and I said ‘hello’ to each other three or four times. The connection was so bad, I could not really hear her and I don’t think she could hear me. She eventually hung up on me.

I’ve not answered any of these SPAM calls since then. Although, if the number with the 612 area code (spoofing that they are in Minneapolis in case you were wondering) comes through again I may answer it. 4 calls in less than 24 hours? They are relentless.

2/1/2018

Odd or Not?

Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:12 pm

Is the following odd behavior, and if so, what would your reaction be?

Last Wednesday night (about 930pm), and then again last night (about 1015pm), a guy pulls up and parks in front of my neighbor’s house in a very nice, new, clean truck, complete with very dark tinted windows. He then gets a bike out of the back of his truck, sports a large orange back pack, rides north, and disappears for about twelve-sixteen hours. He then comes back, puts his bike in truck and drives off.

When it happens once, ok – weird. However, it has now happened twice, which indicates a pattern might be starting.

From what we have observed so far, there is no illegal behavior by this dude merely parking a very nice truck on a public street and then riding off on a bike, but it certainly is odd, particularly the timing of it – overnights on Wednesday.

So – odd or not? Would you do anything?

1/29/2018

How You Like Them Waffles?

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:48 pm

The weather is still not cooperating enough for us to go out on the boat, so I spent much of this weekend at home working on some family history and genealogy research. In doing so, I made a new connection.

My third great-grandfather had a brother named Calvin William. Calvin William married a lady named Jemima. Therefore, I have a third, great AUNT JEMIMA.

Third, Great Aunt Jemima made me think of this old internet gem, which is probably not cool to be posted any more in light of the #metoo trend, but I’m down for some irreverence today, so enjoy. Waffles

1/23/2018

Superfluous E

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:04 pm

My last post inspired the following limerick (as I was cleaning cat litters in case you needed that detail).

‘Superfluous E’
Ode to the superfluous e.
A silent gratuity.
Add to the end of any word
to make it absurd,
or reek of antiquity.

Dog Whistle Realty, LLC

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:31 pm

We are undergoing some office renovations and I found some old notes with this on it. It amused me enough to want to share.

How to Name Your Property Development to Get Suburbanites to Move to There:

-Ington. Take a common word, any word and add the letters ‘ington’ to the end of it and you just oooze classy. Try it, using Red, Stall, and Butt – Redington, Stallington, Buttington. See how much classier that sounds? Wouldn’t you rather live in the Buttington Hills Subdivision over the Butt Hills Subdivision? Of course you would.

-Superfluous E. Take a common word, any word and add a silent ‘e’ to the end of it. Common examples are Pointe and Shoppes, but this can be applied to any word. Golde Glade. See what I did there? CLASSY all the way. You know there are good schools somewhere nearby when the silent ‘e’ appears.

-The _____ @ _____. You will need two words to fill in here. It’s like gentrification adlibs. The first word needs to be a noun, the second a proper noun. So something like, the River at Rivers Glen or maybe the River at Rivers Glenne.

-Precious Metals. Hinted to above, adding in a precious metal to describe your development is golden. Silver Shores, Golden Isles, Titanium Forest. That sort of thing. You can never go wrong adding in a reference to items you mine from the ground. Platinum Hills. I can’t stop myself!

-Anglo Name + Geographic Identifier. Pick your favorite Anglo-Saxon sounding name and then add any sort of geographic item. Winchester Bluff. Lexington Woods. Easy, right?

Go ahead and try it using my handy formulas above. What would you name your gated, suburban community to let everyone know it has great schools and no thugs (most importantly – that it is not the evil city)?

1/8/2018

Nostramikus

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:36 pm

There is a lot of chatter in the news today encouraging Oprah Winfrey to run for president, which is based on some acceptance speech she gave at some awards show. I just want to point out this is not new news.

Mike made this suggestion on August 13, 2002. To be fair, he suggested Oprah as VP and Tom Hanks as the presidential candidate, but did say that ticket would be a ‘guaranteed winner’. His exact prediction/statement: “Here’s a guaranteed winner, although they would likely be Democrats. How about the Tom Hanks – Oprah ticket? Everyone loves Tom Hanks, and Oprah would certainly get the female vote, and likely a good percentage of the black vote. So if the Dems put up the Hanks-Winfrey ticket, I’m headed to Canada!”

I suspect the threat to move to Canada is nulled by now, but maybe I better ask.

(Source)

1/4/2018

Snow Day

Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:08 pm

Yesterday was our first real snow day since we moved to Savannah. We have had at least two other days with snow, but nothing like yesterday. In fact, there was so much of it, and it was cold enough overnight, that it lingered into today. It is now melting, but things are still pretty covered.

Given that snow and cold were one of the top reasons I left Illinois, I surprised myself at how much fun it all was. We actually went outside multiple times to check out the progress. It was surreal seeing our normally green, lush yard look like a winter wonderland.

The memories of snow days of old came rushing back. I had stored a lot of this knowledge for going on two decades, and had completely forgotten it until yesterday. For example,
-Snow sounds. I had forgotten how much I absolutely despised the crunching noise that wet, icy snow makes when walking on it. It’s like walking on bits of styrofoam. It’s squeaky and it grunts and is generally gross on the ears.

However, snow also brings a sound-deafening property that is peaceful and calming. Once everything is covered with a layer of snow, ambient sounds are insulated. Add that to the fact that everyone is nestled inside, and the quiet is delightful, and in the city, so rare.

-Snow lighting. The lighting of everything outside changes when covered in snow. I had forgotten how everything is enveloped in a light blue hue when snow is on the ground. During the day, everything gleams. It is so bright that sunglasses are an absolute must. Snow blindness is real. At night, everything seems to glow from the ground level. We had the bonus of a waning full moon last night, so the moonlight added to the glow. It was very bright out last night. It is still pretty bright today, but getting back to the more green-tinted light that I’m used to than the light-blue of snow cover.

-Could I be wearing any more clothes? When I left Illinois, I gave away my most hardcore winter gear – like a jacket and boots. I never replaced them when I moved here. In order to enjoy the snow without freezing (and I am known to be freezing in 70 degree weather), I had to layer up. From the bottom up, I had my hiking shoes, wool socks, long underwear, sweatpants (classy!), long sleeve body shirt, tshirt, sweatshirt, fleece, windbreaker (with hood), Blackhawks knitted cap with ear flaps, and Isotoner gloves. I wish I had a scarf, but otherwise, wasn’t too bad off. Actually, a balaclava would be really nice, but owning those around here just means ‘robber’. Boots of some sort would have been helpful too, but more for the warmth/waterproof qualities. The snow wasn’t all that deep. I had forgotten how long it takes to put all of that on and take it all back off again.

-Mud Rooms. Now I remember why so many Midwestern homes have mudrooms. Tracking snow inside is really annoying. I guess we, at least, have the bonus of our snow being untainted by road salt, which is a floor-ruiner and cat-sickener. Truly, I am unsure if the amount of snow we tracked in was more, even, or less than the amount of saltwater we track in after fishing/boating. It maybe be that it was the visible sight of snow in my house that was weirding me out. Snow in the house just isn’t right.

All in all, yesterday’s snow day wasn’t all that bad. I just hope it clears out quickly. I also it doesn’t happen again any time soon. snowfish

1/2/2018

Fragile Magic

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:09 pm

Christmas was hard on us this year with the passing of my paternal Grandmother on the 28th. Circumstances being beyond our control, we won’t be able to make it to her wake or funeral. This is especially upsetting for me, but I know it is the most reasonable option.

Christmas was without its usual magic in 2017. This was also upsetting because the magic of Christmas is my favorite part. I love that enchanted, far-away feeling you (sometimes) get during this season. While I don’t have any kids of my own, I particularly love seeing how much children love the magic of Christmas. They understand it better than anyone.

The passing of my Grandmother at Christmastime did offer me some valuable perspective, however. In remembering my Grandma, one of the key themes that I keep going back to is the magic. Grandma had this amazing way of keeping the Christmas magic alive all year round. I cherish the fact that nearly every Sunday, growing up, I got to spend the day at their house. Being at Grandma and Grandpa’s house was enchanting and magical. Grandma always encouraged our creative side. It was a place I could always be me, be an uninhibited kid.

Now that I am older, I realize what a very special and unique influence I had because of my precious Grandma. I wish I could be more articulate in describing how honored I feel having had her in my life. I just keep going back to ‘magical’ because truly, she was.

Rest in Peace, Grandma.

1/1/2018

New Years Eve Around the World

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:22 pm

For many years now, I have spent New Year’s Eve watching midnight arrive on live, usually unsecured, webcams from around the world. This year was no different. I managed to write down all the cities I viewed and made brief notes about what I saw at each location. Here is the list.

+Tbilisi, Georgia – lots of personal fireworks. One office of some sort was open and the front desk was manned by an older man. Near midnight, three women appeared from behind some of the closed doors and joined him in the lobby and squatted near a Christmas tree. They all took some photos and went back to behind their doors.
+Armenia – fireworks in the distance
+Lithuania – groups of people shooting off fireworks and holding sparklers in parking lot
+Athens, Greece – huge fireworks. Watched this on an NBC live feed and I suspect the fireworks were doctored
+Jerusalem – a small group of Muslim women in a candy shop who prayed, ate some candy, and then closed up shop
+Bucharest, Romania – organized fireworks
+Bangor, N Ireland – a bar, but with lots of unruly, young kids, but no doubt it was a bar. No one really reacted to the arrival of midnight, just a few hugs but mostly everyone kept on doing what they were doing before midnight, which was drinking or dancing or if a kid, throwing crap around.
+Croydon, England – very large Church service, not sure the denomination, but maybe Catholic, lots of iconography in the the church. Seemed pretty formal.
+Bognor Regis Beach, England – fireworks
+Dublin – an Earthcam pub cam. I was embarrassed for this crowd, which was pretty large. At least three people were sporting those oversized, green, leprechaun hats you see at all the St. Pat’s parades in the US. Who does that? So tacky.
+London – also watched this on the NBC live feed and, like Athens, I suspect the fireworks were doctored
+Rio de Janero – third one where I watched on the NBC live feed. Nearly all the fireworks were red. Now I am unsure if it was doctored; who would doctor something that ugly? It was a bit creepy. Like a communist/Chinese rally or something.
+Georgetown, Guyana – a webcam to the New Testament Church of God, and I think this one was my favorite. The church was packed with people wearing vibrant, and tropical colors. They were singing and really seemed to be the happiest people ringing in the new year.
+Ascension, Paraguay – everyone at a restaurant was wearing red, glitter bowlers (got to get one of those!), but at midnight headed outside and I did not see most of them again after that
+Mar del Plata, Argentina – seems like the town started their fireworks about 5 minutes late. Does Argentina run on ‘Southern’ time, too?
+This is where the East coast would fall, but since I was celebrating at that time, I didn’t watch any cams, nor did we turn on the TV. What’s the point? The channels that cover New Year’s eve in the US only cover New York anyway and who wants to see a bunch of diaper-wearing adults freeze their asses off, listening to auto-tuned/lip-synced ‘music’, under the watchful eye of police snipers?
+No fireworks for the following: Tuscaloosa, AL, a marina near Minneapolis, MN, the extremely cold (-21) Brookings, SD, or Brookfield, WI
+Chicago, Navy Pier fireworks. Whoever was operating the cam was an idiot and kept moving off the fireworks to the Ferris wheel which had pretty lights displayed on it. We want to see the fireworks, that is how we know it is midnight. Duh.
+Park City, UT – a surprising amount of fireworks for how cold it was
+Colorado Springs, CO, some fireworks
+Jackson, WY – a Ski Resort had it’s lights on and people using the hill until about 5 minutes to midnight. Then they shut off the lights and sent out three Zamboni-like machines that smoothed all the snow. I assumed they would be having some sort of fireworks or celebration based on the shut-down time, but no show. The snow smoothing machines disappeared and the place closed for the night.
+Boise, ID – nothing that I could see
+Venice, CA – an outdoor restaurant, about half-full of hipsters who were so obviously trying really hard to ignore midnight. Most pulled out their phones at midnight, casually looked at it and put it down and continued eating. Sometimes, California seems more foreign to me than Tbilisi, Georgia.
+Chino Hills, CA – a cam of someone’s garage and alley, some fireworks
+Banff, Alberta – cute little street scene, lots of bundled up people, possible fireworks in distance but couldn’t really tell with the cam I had
+San Diego, CA – a city street scene with a few fireworks
+Palm Springs, CA – a tightly manicured city square, dotted with police vehicles, a few fireworks
+Leavenworth, WA – very bright decorated town square. Very cute, like Banff. Also with a lot of bundled up people. The Christmas lights were so bright it washed out any fireworks that may have happened.
+Hollywood, CA, Hollywood Blvd – ending New Years with a serious whimper in Hollywood. There were a lot people milling about, but none of them appeared to acknowledge midnight whatsoever. It was like a throng of zombies just wandering among each other.

I couldn’t make it any longer to ring in the New Year with Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. I’m sure theirs were far warmer than any of ours.

Well, I hope you all had a safe and peaceful New Year. Here is to hoping for a healthy, prosperous, and joyous 2018!

12/18/2017

Q4 Report

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:55 pm

Here are some items of note from The Gull Reef Club for the last quarter of 2017.

*This weekend, we partook in an orange harvest, our Second Orange Christmas. We estimate we came away with a little over 100 lbs of oranges. The marmalade making begins soon.

*You regular readers know I adore old Christmas music. Really, I love all old audio. Awhile back, Mike introduced me to the UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive. Some of the recordings there are over a century old. The sounds are often haunting, yet warm and familiar. I recently came across a Cylinder Christmas music collection. Listening to songs that were sung over a 100 years ago and knowing them well enough to sing along is the definition of tradition. These are a treasure. Give them a listen and time travel to Christmas past.

*In case that last item made you just a wee bit too warm and fuzzy, I have something that should send you in the other direction. When making wreaths with my sister a few weeks ago, we heard Nat King Cole’s very depressing version of The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot. Complete with the very seasonal lyrics, “I feel sorry for that laddy / because he hasn’t got a daddy / the little boy that Santa Claus forgot” What a bummer.

A slightly cool aside to all this, is that in researching this song before I wrote about it here, I learned it was originally performed by Vera Lynn. If Wikipedia is to be believed, this song is used in the opening scene of the movie, Pink Floyd The Wall.

*Thanksgiving. Going back in time just a bit, I am clearly late on the annual Thanksgiving post. This year was perfect. I can’t think of anything we could have done to make it better.

The menu this year was:
Starters – Pumpkin soup with apple, ginger, lime puree, served cold and corn chowder with pea puree, bacon, and parmesan tuiles served hot.
Main- Turkey and gravy
Sides – Stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and rolls
Desserts – Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cranberry donuts, cranberry pudding (think southern-style banana pudding and use cranberries instead), and homemade vanilla ice cream.
Beverage – Spiced cider, and hot coffee.

*Hallothings. This is actually a post I originally started back in October and never got around to posting. Better late than never, I guess.
Things I read:
Black Paradox
Voices in the Dark/Yami no Koe, both by Junji Ito
Manga of the Dead, Various
Things I listened to:
Inner Sanctum
Thing I watched:
War Neuroses Netley Hospital, 1918, not sure why the title says 1917. The film was released in 1918.

I’ll try to make my end of the year post timely, but no promises. Past performance is usually a good indicator of future returns.

10/31/2017

It’s Halloween It’s Halloween

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:47 pm

It’s Halloween, The Shaggs

Do you know the story behind the making of this, uh, band? It’s actually pretty sad, reference: Wiki, The Shaggs. Still, there is something endearing about this song.

It’s Halloween

It’s time for games
It’s time for fun
Not for just one
But for everyone

Have a safe, fun, and spooky Halloween, everyone!

10/15/2017

Version 2.1 – Official Release

Filed under: — Jaime @ 1:06 pm

Using a rather hot birthday to lounge about and be lazy. We had our fun yesterday in the boat. Mike caught dinner (a redfish/trout combo), and the weather was great. A Hawks OT win was a nice bonus.

Tonight’s dinner will be Mike-made pizza. I’m hoping to summons the energy to make some snickerdoodles, but don’t hold your breath. I was delighted that I got one of my favorite treats as an early birthday present – a toasted coconut donut from a shop way out in Rincon, brought to me by a friend (I apologize for not remembering the shop’s name or I’d give them credit.) – bdaydonut

I also got these adorable pens, one representing each of my kitties – kittypens.
I errantly referred to them as ‘kitty pens’ when I first described them to Mike, and some funny inferences arose involving cats being used as livestock. On top of this, I was gifted a lovely mana-tea set. I also appreciate all of the kind greeting you all have sent me on FB and elsewhere. Feeling lots of love this year. Thanks!

Now, off to indulge in some laziness.

10/10/2017

AHS: American Hockey Story

Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:03 pm

Any of you watching this season of American Horror Story? How about you Blackhawks fans? If so, have you noticed the remarkable similarity to Evan Peters and Jonathan Toews? Like brothers from another mother (but probably not Kai’s mother). See for yourself:

PetersToews

10/9/2017

Donut Disappointment

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:04 pm

The internal Homer Simpson that I carry with me at all times, is always seeking out a good donut. I endeavored today to a newish shop in hopes of finding such a delectable treat.

Whenever I try a new donut shop, I always opt for the most baseline of donuts – yeast-risen, plain, glazed. This is a test. If the shop can’t get this very basic donut right, they certainly won’t be able to get anything fancier right either.

I rolled into Rise on Broughton at about 10:30 this morning, and was greeted by excessively loud pop music – not a good first sign. There was a line of people, which didn’t seem to make a lot of sense since there were more employees behind the counter than in line, but whatever. I got in line and started looking over the ‘old school’ (their term not mine) menu. Then I looked again. Then again. Where the frick are the plain, glazed? I stood there for a good full minute or two staring like a monkey at a shiny trinket utterly confused. It really was not computing that this alleged donut shop couldn’t even deliver on the most basic of donuts. I finally gathered my wits and left.

After I returned, sans donuts, I went to their website to make sure I just didn’t miss a listing for plain/glazed. Nope. I didn’t. They simply do not serve what is arguably the most popular donut in the USA. I was really disappointed with Rise and do not expect that I will ever go back. Clearly their products are aimed at hipster doofuses and children, and not a regular gal like me.

Oh well, I guess I will be donut free today. Probably for the best anyway. Mmmm…no donuts…

9/25/2017

Trolling the NFL

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:25 pm

This weekend NFL fans witnessed their President call out the privileged players of the league who are electing to protest, uh, something, during the national anthem. In response, a record number of players added themselves to the protests.

While watching our recording* of the Bears v Steelers game, it occurred to me that the fans can get in on this with a little fun trolling. My suggestion is for the home team fans to start signing the national anthem collectively/spontaneously whenever they need the other team to take a knee or leave the field. Think this would work? Even if it doesn’t (and it likely wouldn’t), wouldn’t you get a kick out of hearing an entire stadium spontaneously sing the national anthem to these spoiled brats?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the NFL.

*If you watch any NFL games live, you are a fool. How can you sit through that onslaught of advertisements and boring banter?

PS – 10 days until pucks drop!

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.

The Gull Reef Club