Monday, June 29, 2015

Sharknado, the review

"Hi Bob, what's your script pitch this time?" "This a real winner Joe. I've given it the working title Wolfnado. It has everything you need to make a true Blockbuster. Vicious hungry wolves fall out right out of the sky and rip apart anything they see. It's got skimpy bikini shots for the teenagers, lots of guns, chainsaws, blood, fangs and no big words. I'm telling you right now Joe, this is really high concept stuff."

"Bob, that sounds great but how are you going to get it to rain wolves?"

"Joe, this is the high concept stuff I was talking about. There will be a huge storm that develops over Florida. Tornadoes will suck up thousands of hungry raging wolves. The storm then dumps them all over Miami Beach. There's plenty of cheap stock beach footage we can buy that will keep production costs way down."

"Bob, I don't want to rain on your wolf parade, but there aren't very many wolves in Florida if any at all, and the effects people are going to scream about the costs. Those fur computer graphics stuff ain't cheap and all those hemp wearing environmentalists will be on our asses also."

"How about sharks Bob? I mean who loves man eating sharks? Florida has tons of them swimming around and biting people? I don't even go to the beach because I saw that Jaws movie as a kid. We can make them out of rubber cheap, they can be reused and we can put fins on weighted skateboards and pull them around in shallow water." I'm thinking big. Big like "Sharknado." I bet you could write a script in about a week, and we could make it for chump change. Maybe around a fat million dollars. Hmmm... who could we sell it to? The Scfy channel maybe?"

Monday, June 22, 2015

Optical delusions, it's a matter of perspective

Two things are going on here. One is the camera is failing and it took some luck to get this picture below in the first place. It was once upon a time a color camera I think, but it has become more of a faded black and white image when it's working at all.  It's also the incorrect type of kind of camera. The image is accurate but the POV is not.

The Garmin 7612 display is new, the existing camera not so much. The owner was aware the camera had been in poor health, and from my perspective it had long passed on into Kodak heaven. In truth it had no power initially, but when given power it had a severe case of the Delirium Tremens. It really doesn't matter. For these reasons it's going into a plastic body bag for transport and internment at the local paupers landfill.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Two hours afloat and too many things to say.

This radar installation confirmed my sense that radar beams can't see through aluminum pipes. This wasn't something I was so curious about that I would expend valuable energy in trying to test, but now I have some empirical evidence to back up my hunch. 

This was two hours of owner training on a shiny new boat. Like all things I do, it seems my eye has a proclivity to spot other things and events to talk about and today was no different. The radar problem was evident as I walked up to the boat. It's a FUBAR install. It's not my work and I can't do anything about it today so the training will go on anyway.

I try to beat the basics into owners. My approach is to make the owner push all of the buttons, and we are going to do some things over and over until it starts to approach second nature. Make waypoints, name waypoints and go to waypoints. Make tracks, save tracks, name tracks and follow tracks. You get the drill. Add to this autopilot 101 use, and a stern lecture that bad things can happen if you do dumb things with the autopilot at high speeds. In extreme cases you could end up precipitously leaving the boat and watching it recede into the distance while you contemplate all of the mistakes you have made in your life, this last one in particular. I cut this educational activity off at about two hours max. It's all normal mortals can absorb in one shot.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A tale of two motors

Our two motors suffered from a long and terminal case of rust-itis. It starts with a dermal complexion rash and if not promptly treated rapidly spreads, causes bloating and in the end given enough time all that will remain is a umber colored stain.

For steel to rust you need two basic things. Water and oxygen. Neither by itself causes rust, you need the collusion of both of these ingredients. Now if you add salt to the mix you can dramatically accelerate the process. But my essay isn't about rust, it's about how the water got there in the first place.

I have two recent examples. One is a winch motor in a forward anchor locker, and the other is a autopilot hydraulic pump located in the lazaret. In both cases the owner's aver the motors were working the last time they used them and I believe them. My inside voice however is mumbling the last time these motors were used Ron Popeil was selling spray on hair in a can.