Decent article on our culture of haterism.

“And yet we derive our own identities from the act of hating. We connect on the things we are disappointed in.”   -Patrick Stump, Fall Out Boy

I would have used different examples than Mr. Stump used, and that’s alright.  The message gets across.

“Now, I’m not saying everyone needs to go around playing nice and never admitting that they dislike things. That’d be ridiculous. But perhaps we as a culture have exhausted (at least for a little while) whatever can positively be gained by ignorantly dismissing things as loudly as we can.”

Our new culture of negativity is so tiring for me (yes, I seem to be hating on haters), and I do hope that the next hipster fads are good manners and tact.

Read the entire post on his blog:

Be still, my beating heart (no, seriously, slow down).


Adventures in inappropriate sinus tachycardia.

After ten minutes of walking around the grocery store with a mostly empty cart, I was already exhausted.  I went to a concert last night after a long, annoying day at work, so I was pretty sure that was the reason, but since I have an arrhythmia, I decided I better take a quick peak at the activities of the old ticker to make sure.  My resting HR hovers around 100 BPM, but it doesn’t always jump when I become active.  When it does though, I get tired, clammy, and dizzy.  I’m pretty good at getting myself seated before I faint, so that doesn’t happen anymore.  That 131 BPM that I saw on the screen wasn’t shocking, but it was unwelcome.  I’m fairly certain my condition isn’t a big deal, and, hey, I know I’m lucky my heart beats at all!  IST can be a day-ruiner though, for sure.  My sodium intake is down lately, since we’re on a low-salt kick in my house, so that may be contributing.  I’m glad I stopped to take a look, because the minute of sitting gave me a little break, but it got me thinking uncomfortable thoughts about possible surgical remedies.

With that being said, has anyone out there in Internetland gone through with sinus node modification/ablation to remedy IST?  I’ve got next to no fear of surgical procedures, but I’m afraid of the potential outcome on this one.  Do some people really come out needing pacemakers after partial ablation?  Oy, that’s something I don’t want.

When I smarten up and get myself health insurance again, a trip to my electrophysiologist in in order.  I’ve always told him I didn’t want to talk about surgery, but I’m thinking it’s time to at least consider it.  For now I’m just sitting around thinking, “wasn’t I supposed to grow out of this? ”

It’s not that big of a deal, but if it can be fixed, I think I’ll take it.

If not for Maximo …

TL; DR: Maximo Boat Yard in St. Petersburg is the absolute best, and we wouldn’t have been able to get this far without them.  Call them up when you need help or boat maintenance on the Gulf side of Florida.

We lucked into Maximo Boat Yard this time.  Charlie had a few dealings with them in the past, but he worked in another local yard back when he was a yacht rigger, so he always ended up on the other side of St. Pete when he needed to haul.  I had never even heard of the place.  Right now, though, as I’m sitting in the Compass, bobbing around in the same slip where we first found her over a year and a half ago, I can’t imagine life without them.

I refer to the yard as “them,” and that’s for a reason.  This may seem overly sentimental, but the people make this place.  Our boat spent a year and three months taking of valuable space in the yard, and we never heard an unkind word about her.  Our presence was always met with a smile and a kind word.  We were never treated as if we were in the way, or like we were a bother.  No one ever made us feel like we’d gotten in over our heads, even though it was apparent that we’d gotten into something that was well over our budget.  There were months that we were at the boat every single day, and each one of those days we were made to feel like we belonged in the yard just as much as anyone wearing the Maximo Boat Yard uniform.

I’m sure it’s obvious, but Charlie and I were not looking for a boat when we found the Compass.  We had a great little 25′ racing boat we were rehabbing, and we were happily living the simple life.  Of course, the dream was that we would buy a cruising boat in five or ten years once the fancy education paid off and we were somewhat established.  Though Charlie had never seen a Compass 47 in real life, he’d studied them online, and the model was on his short list of dream boats.  I had only seen them in Yacht World listings that Charlie would send me, and since I’d never seen one in person, they didn’t stick with me.  When I said before that we were over our budget, that may lead to the misconception that we were actually working with some sort of budget.  We didn’t have enough money to actually have any sort of monthly or weekly plan for it.  Someone told us that we could own a dream boat for $5,000, though, and we couldn’t pass that up.  We knew we could put in the work, and time wasn’t the biggest factor since we hadn’t planned on being able to start in on a cruising boat for quite a few years anyway.  If we sold the racing boat and cut back on, well, everything, we could afford dockage.  What we really needed was a yard that would work with us, full of people that understood what we were doing.  That’s where Maximo saved us.

Do-it-yourself yards in Florida, let alone the Tampa Bay area, are virtually non-existent, and Maximo isn’t even really a DIY yard.  What Maximo is is a flexible yard, filled with people who understand the way a project can evolve.  It’s also not a matter of what we were charged, since we would have paid at any yard, but a matter of how we were treated.  Rob, Kent, and the rest of the team at Maximo worked with us to ensure the timing was right for every project.  They sanded the boat but didn’t paint our bottom until we’d had time to thoroughly dry, inspect and repair the rudder, keel and saildrive hole (still can’t find better name for it; sue me).  They took delivery of and stored our brand new Beta Marine engine.  They never once batted an eye at a 5′ tall, 100lb woman calling (half of) the shots on a sailboat project.  They were curious about our progress, involved in finding solutions to our never ending list of problems, and patient while we made decisions.  The guys who spend their days blocking up boats, sanding and painting were just as willing to work with us as management, and the contractors the yard works with are the best in the area.  We know.  We’ve been here a very long time.

I don’t know the people who own Maximo Boat Yard, and I’m certain I’m not the person who should speak for them.  Rob is a fantastic gentleman, and he will be able to take care of your needs.  If you need a customer review, though, and the post above is not enough, hit the “contact” tab above and drop me a line.

Maximo is located on the east side of southern St. Petersburg, Florida off of Boca Ciega Bay, just north of Tierra Verde.  Head east up the Maximo channel from the east side of Boca Ciega Bay until you see the fuel docks.

I can say this for certain: If not for Maximo, we would not moving forward with the Compass project today.

Maximo Boat Yard

3701 50th Ave S
Saint Petersburg, Fl, 33711
Phone: (727) 826-0908

Expert wood identifiers.

We never claimed to be expert wood identifiers.  In fact, I believe you can tell how much we’re not expert wood identifiers by my continued use of the phrase “expert wood identifiers.”  There’s gotta be a name for that, right?

So, we refinished the wood in the galley, which is great for us and all, but you’re probably thinking it isn’t really all that special considering we’re refinishing every piece of wood on the entire forty-seven foot long monster, and I wish you were right.  You’re not, but I wish you were.

Teak on the right, mahogany on the left.  Nice.

I bet you look at this and think you’re an expert wood identifier, don’t you?

See how the veneer on the cabinet face on the right hand side of the picture is, like, a totally different species of wood from the veneer on the left side?  Yeah, we do, too.  Now.  Now that it’s all permanently installed and we’re never ever ever changing it again.  Grumph.

So, apparently the wood on the Compass is mahogany, which isn’t totally shocking.  Believe it or not, Charlie and I actually spent quite a bit of time discussing what species we thought the wood could be.  The wood is more red than I’d like it to be, but I thought mahogany was much more red than the wood on the Compass.  And, remember, at some point someone stained most of the wood an orangey-rust color, which we found our when we first washed down the inside of the boat.  When the wood was freshly sanded, it was a mid-toned peachy brown color, kinda like newly sanded teak.  We figured the reddish hue, since it wasn’t as dark as the mahagonay samples we found, was a figment of our imagination, left over from when we first got the boat.  Too bad there’s this thing called “African Mahogany” which is known for being less red than it’s American counterpart.  Yup, our African boat has African wood.  Whodathunkit?

As far as the installation went, it was neither exceptionally easy nor exceptionally hard.  We’d never applied veneer before, so we spent a few weeks leading up the project reading up on the process.  After our individual studies, I wanted to apply our own glue and Charlie wanted to use sticky-backed veneer.  We went with Charlie’s plan on this one, since I’m much better at giving “I told you so”‘s than getting “what were you thinking”‘s.  After we’d removed all of the old veneer, and sanded and cleaned the substrate, we went to town.  At first we tried to peel away the backing from the veneer while simultaneously pressing down the exposed sticky area to the cabinet face.  This was a frustrating mess, and every time we got to a drawer cut out, the whole thing got bubbled and warped.  Finally, I decided that we’d just peel off all of the backing, exposing all of the sticky stuff, lay the veneer on our carpet glue side up, and just lay the substrate on top of it.  This may seem amateurish, but it worked like a charm.  It’s not like we have a woodshop to do this in, and we’re not planning on doing it many more times.

Charlie cutting out veneer for the doors and drawers.

After we got the stuff stuck on, we cut the veneer away from the drawer and door openings.  We were careful to preserve the pieces well so that we could use them on the actual drawer and door faces.  Charlie completed that part on his own, and did a damn fine job making those little circles for the door pulls.

The truth is, we actually noticed that the teak we ordered was much different from the wood on our boat as soon as we opened the package, but the cost of sending the stuff back, combined with the restocking fee and the cost of having new mahogany veneer shipped was more than we were willing to shell out.  Instead, we purchased some mahogany marine-grade stain (I know, I know) and tinted the teak a bit. We finished everything with West Marine Wood Pro under Interlux Gold Spar Satin.  The Interlux isn’t as easy to work with as the Epifanes, in my opinion, but it looks just fine.  I’d think it looked top-notch if we weren’t comparing it to the Epifanes.  I think it has a more hazy finish than the Rubbed Effect on the rest of the boat, but it’s not noticeable enough to complain about.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re not willing to go through the hassle of using a mislabeled Epifanes product again.

We’re pretty happy with the job overall, especially considering that neither of us had ever attempted anything like it before.  Someday we may try to match the veneer we redid to that in the rest of the boat, but, hey, maybe someday we’ll win the lottery and I’ll convince Charlie that we should have the whole thing redone in maple (yes, I’m a living stereotype).  For now, we’re just happy to be sixty-five percent done with the interior woodwork.

In an attempt to change things up a bit, we’ve shifted focus and have started rebedding deck hardware.  This means that we’ve finally pulled down some of the headliner (yes, I think we’re doing some things backwards, too), and I’m pleased to report that the underside of the deck looks marvelous and strong.  We always worry about what we’ll find, and we’re always left pleasantly surprised.  You’d think we’d realize by now that this boat is just amazing.  We were truly blessed when we found our Compass.

As for me personally, I’m headed down into the garage to put a forth coat of varnish on the v-berth headliner.  It never ends, folks.  Sixty-five percent, my ass.

Our continued adventures in varnishing: Spring 2012.

We’ve closed out yet another season on the hard.

Once again I have to thank the universe for the boatyard where we both found and currently house the Compass.  For almost eight months we’ve taken over quite a large patch of asphalt there, and they still treat us like family.

Epifanes Rubbed Effect on the salon table.

During the spring, we settled on a matte top coat for all of our interior wood.  We applied Epifanes Rubbed Effect on most large surfaces, and it worked out pretty well. At first we were using Epifanes Rapidclear for the build coats, but then we heard that West Marine’s WoodPro was a rebadged version of the exact same product.  We haven’t attempted to confirm this, but we suspect it’s true.  Both go on with extreme ease, and sand well for the finish coats.  We’ve had no adhesion issues so far, no peeling when sanding or weird shine-through.  While it’s been a lot of work, it’s been a relatively simple, satisfying project.  And the Rubbed Effect top coat is a pretty nice matte.  I mean, it looks nice, doesn’t it?  Too bad we won’t be using it anymore.  I haven’t chronicled the galley refinish project yet, but I’ll give away one part of the story here:  Epifanes must have had a labeling problem for a while, because we wasted about six hours applying, sanding, reapplying from a new can, and again sanding some sort of gloss varnish that was living in Epifanes Rubbed Effect cans.  Our local West Marine was good enough to take both cans (which had different batch numbers on the bottom) back for a refund.  In the post about the galley, I’ll be writing to you about how much we now love the finish of Interlux Goldspar Satin.  Heh!  At least we’re trying a little bit of everything.

Charlie performing the initial sanding of my very thick application of filler.

Have I mentioned that the yard we’re at is awesome?  Now some of you lucky salts may be wondering what the big deal is.  Maybe you live up north and get to haul out every winter in a yard that lets you do all of your own work.  We’ve been there, too, but here in Florida, things are quite different.  Self-service yards are few and far between, and once you find one, expect to dole out big bucks if you’re staying more than a day.  We’ve been on the hard almost eight months, and you haven’t seen me cry over money (yet).  Yes, I know how lucky we’ve been.

Before the barrier coat went on the Compass, management at the yard gave us a few days to fill and fair the bottom of our boat.  As with most things on the Compass, we got very lucky with the bottom.  The bottom was in good shape, and everything we did was either preventative or cosmetic.  We started out using epoxy and filler we mixed from ingredients we purchased from Fiberglass Coatings here in St. Petersburg.  This was fine, but we were having a hard time maintaining consistency, so we switched to a two part 3M marine filler.  First we machine sanded, then we finished off with hand sanding.  This little bit of extra effort got us a very nice, fair bottom, if I do so say myself.  We’re not experts by a long shot, but we’re always willing to learn new tricks in order to get the best possible result.

Ultramar.  Now I realize it’d be pretty ironic for a sailboat.

Charlie and I haven’t named the boat yet, and I have a feeling that when we do finally agree on something, it’s going to be pretty darn generic.  He and I have different ideas about what makes a good boat name.  I think it should be something personal – something that tells everyone a little bit about us.  Charlie thinks it should have more to do with the boat, and prefers Afrikaans names.  While we were doing the bottom, I came up with what I thought would be a great, and by great I mean extraordinarily generic, name for the boat.  Both Charlie and his dad liked the name, and I was feeling pretty cool.  Too bad Ultramar is the name of a Canadian gas station.  Live and learn.

So, those are some of the highlights of our spring on the hard.  Take a peek at the photo album Ive thrown together for a closer look, including pictures of our never before seen aft head, me, under a table, and our nav station … naked.  Oooooh.  Saucy.

Fear not, people of Korea! AKA: My foray into Korean television.

(This is seriously, no joke, a post about a Korean soap opera.  Like the rest of my blog, this may be worth skipping.)

I hear you like to be called Korea, Korea.  So, instead of South Korea, or the Republic of Korea, I’ll just call you by your first name.  I hope we’re close enough for that.

Anyway, Korea, I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be judging you or your people by what I see on the soap opera Winter Sonata.  There’s no way that a civilization which has supposedly been around since 2333 BC has that high a percentage of emotionally retarded  inhabitants.  I mean, seriously, I’m getting sick of characters insisting that Yujin not grieve for Junsang for the sake of Sanghyeok’s iddy-biddy feewings.  Grow a pair, Sanghyeok.  So, I won’t judge you by Winter Sonata because that would be like you judging me by episodes of Days of Our Lives (though, I was thinking of burying a beautiful young woman alive.  Hmmph.)

I have to say that I really am enjoying the show.  I’ve watched seven of the hour-long episodes and I plan on finishing all twenty.  I point this out because I really figured I wouldn’t care for the show at all and that I’d give up on the first episode half way through.  I just wanted a little exposure to some Korean television and lucked out by finding this title on Netflix.

*Spoilers ahead!*

Team Pacey.

I can’t help but compare the first couple of episodes to my favorite teen soap opera, Dawson’s Creek.  In short, Yujin, our leading lady, has known her best friend Sanghyeok her entire life.  Enter Junsang, the handsome new-kid-in-school.  Everyone insists that Joey … I mean, Yujin, should be ga-ga over her BFF, but she’s falling hard for the new guy.  While it’s not an exact match, I couldn’t help but be annoyed by the Dawson Leery like assumptions Sanghyeok has made about what’s best for Yujin.

What’s worse is that everyone in the show acts the same way.  Male and female characters alike continually insist that Yujin and Sanghyeok are soulmates, and, worse, that Yujin should never, ever, ever show any sadness when reminded of the death of her first love.

If Winter Sonata is the norm, Korean dramas involve more buffoon-type comedic characters than American shows.  I think there are four characters who exist only to be made fun of.  Maybe that’s just what the place is really like, which really makes me want to visit.  Furthermore, if this show is really a glimpse into Korean culture, 80% of Korean people bleach their hair once they become adults.  It’s like smoking is in America, without the coughing fits and stained teeth.

Another thing that’s killin’ me is that none of the female characters seem to be able to hold adult conversations with men, especially if they disagree with them.  Korea can’t be that patriarchal, can it?  Neither Chaerin (conniving twat, though she is) nor Yujin can do much but nod and agree with their respective male partners.  Why shouldn’t Chaerin be upset when Minhyeok is flaunting his flirtation with another woman in her face?  What is with all the deference and obvious silent suffering?

I also can’t help but wonder why the writers of Winter Sonata seem to want me cheering on, at least what I understand would be, an incestuous relationship.  My subtitle reading can’t be so bad that I misunderstood that.  Unless the writers of this show are much more talented than I am giving them credit for, Minhyeok is Junsang with amnesia.  Gross.

OK, this is actually pretty steamy.

But I am – cheering it on, that is.  Winter Sonata is addicting enough that I want some good old Korean brother-sister lovin’ to go down.  Not that “lovin’” means over there what it means over here.  Two characters that are engaged can barely hug each other with out feeling guilty afterward.  Someone from Korea, please email me and explain whether or not this is true-to-life Korean culture, or just plain old TV-style morality.

One thing translates though; it may be our major shared cultural experience.  Sanghyeok’s mother despises Yujin, though I cannot figure out why.  I guess the crazy daughter-in-law hating mother is a universal stereotype.

So, I’m about to start the eighth episode, and I’m sure lying, sinister little Chaerin and annoyingly Dawson-like Sanghyeok are about to get their hearts broken.  Even if I don’t get that wish, I will forever be satisfied knowing that I watched a Korean TV drama that used Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat while a character was daydreaming about his love interest.  Now you know the real reason I can’t stop watching.