The Gull Reef Club

Recent Comments:

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

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.

2/7/2018

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.

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.

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.

9/11/2017

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.

The Gull Reef Club