Saturday, January 31, 2009

riding the chopper on Newport Coast Dr. towards PCH

So my last day here in town was spent with my close friends and my family at house#1 at Crystal Cove Cottages in Corona Del Mar, CA. I rode my motorcycle down and took the scenic route along Newport Coast Drive to PCH from the 73 freeway. I took some footage on my digital camera as I was riding so you could get an idea of how beautiful of a ride that is. It is breathtaking. I have to be on stage at 10:30 tonight at the Avalon bar in Costa Mesa so I am tying up all my loose ends here at the house. After the show it's straight to bed and LAX at 6:30 am tomorrow morning. First stop: Seattle. Then on to Orlando and a two hour drive to meet the Bounty in St. Petersburg Florida on February 3rd. for one month of training. Almost there.

Friday, January 30, 2009

practice your needlework

After reading up on sailing square-riggers in the 1800's, I found that the average sailor was usually extremely skilled with needle and thread, having spent countless hours repairing sails and other fabric aboard ship, not to mention repair of their own garments. I made this attempt at cross-stitching to sharpen my skills. I just chose a thread color, fabric color, laid it out on paper and found it is all just counting stitches. I made this to document Alexa's first day standing up on a surfboard and completed it in a 16 hour marathon stitching session so it could be shipped last minute to the East Coast, where she was vacationing for Christmas. My roommate Johnny thought I was crazy until he saw the finished product. 

sailor's valentine detail

how to pass time aboard ship....allegedly

Here is a sailor's valentine I made a while back. It has a stained mahogany octagonal frame, shells have been carefully glued into position to fill the frame with color and a layer of glass covers the fragile shell panel, protecting it from damage and shifting. The February, 2007 issue of Antiques and Collecting magazine has a great article on the history of sailor's valentines. My example is novice compared to those shown in the article! Wow! So after reading the article, very few sailors actually made these. Most were made by islanders in Barbados for the souvenir trade and sold to passing sailors to give to loved ones upon return to port. It was still really cool making it and taking the time to build the frame and collect the shells. Gluing them all was time consuming but I really liked doing it anyway since I got to think about alexa for 6 days straight. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

A little bit more about me

So here is a video of the interior of my home with a shot of my roommate Junko. Can you find the two-headed chicken?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I am OUT of here. February 3rd its rope and sails from here on out.

So I decided to drop my usual life of being tortured by a horrible boss and become a sailor on a tall ship. A ship where you have to climb up the rigging and set the sails. Saltpork and biscuit. Ropes and sails. My life of the last 4 years has consisted of riding my chopper on the sidewalk, filling my house with furniture from the antique swap meet, surfing, and driving my 34 Ford around. Apart from being driven insane by a sociopathic supervisor, I enjoyed working as a City inspector and truly enjoyed public service for the 8 years I spent employed there. Why the sea? After living in congested, cemented Los Angeles/Orange County for the last 36 years of my life, I decided to find the complete opposite of that environment. Sailing history has been a passion of mine for many years and I can't escape the idea of sailing on a ship like the ones used to 'round Cape Horn in the 1800's. This picture is of my house. My mother designed the front garden. I'll miss pulling weeds and training the vines on the trellises over the windows and on the arbors. The other photos are of my car and motorcycle. The motorcycle is a 1964 Harley generator shovel and the car is a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe that has been channeled and had a chevrolet motor and transmission swapped in for reliability. I like old stuff a lot.

So I have never been up in the rigging on a tall ship. I have been in boats many times but marlinspike seamanship I have only read about in books and watched on youtube. I figure that many sailors over time have started out with no experience whatsoever and have survived. I am going to meet the ship February 3rd and spend the month learning as much as I can about rigging, sails, knots, and whatever else I can soak in. I will then return home and go back to the ship mid-March if I am offered the position of crew aboard the ship. I have nobody to ask what I should bring so I am reading Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s Two Years Before the Mast, Fredrick Pease Harlow's The Making of a Sailor, and John Harland's Seamanship in the Age of Sail. The latter being an incredible storehouse of information on ship handling and sailing square-rigged ships. From the photos of sailors inside, I have an idea of what clothing to bring. I think I can read until my head explodes and I still won't learn as much as one trip up into the rigging. I wonder if I will freak out. I wonder if I will get seasick. I am excited to find out. That tiny photo at the top is the ship I am sailing on. 

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