Art Attack Central

Fixing stuff, myself included…

Fun With Calamities

Somebody once said, “sailing is hours of boredom interspersed with moments of shear terror.” While I don’t find that sailing equates with hours of boredom, each departure from the dock does seem to contain moments of terror, or near calamity of one sort or another.

So what happened this time?

We shoved off, not too promptly at 11 AM. The winds were from the northwest between 5 and 10 knots. Decisions: Do we go up the Severn or down the Severn River? Actually, in nautical terms I’ve forgotten which way is up and which way is down, and while I know that starboard is the right and port the left, I’ve always had trouble telling my right from my left. But that’s another story, involving crashing a hang glider while listening to the instructor hollering, “move to the right, move to the left.” I will give you fair warning; If you’re ever in the passenger seat of my car, when giving me directions you must point. Do not attempt to deliver your instructions totally with verbal commands, unless you are fond of fiascoes.

We’re not in the car; so what happened?

Ah yes, things progressed rather nicely for the most part of Friday. Underway with both the jib and the main sail up, we cut the engine. The wind picked up to 15 knots, and we sailed for several hours towards Round Bay, where we dropped anchor for lunch and a swim. Then we were off to the other side of the river to find a safe harbor for the night. At 6:15 I dropped the anchor from the bow, and we proceeded to have an EOV (end of voyage drink). Around 7 my mother went below to start preparing dinner. My nephew John and I sat talking in the cockpit. I always know when my mother says my father’s name three times in row, something is wrong. “Ward, Ward, Ward”, and no my mother’s name is not June. I peered down into the cabin below and two burners on the alcohol stove, a replacement for the one with the failing burners, were shooting flames a foot high. My father was holding pans over the burners to suppress the flames and telling my mother to shut it off, while my mother was telling my father to be careful. I leapt down into the cabin and took over the pan holding while my father shut the alcohol off. After much fussing and fuming the burners were re lit and my mother and I cooked the meal without trouble.

You said calamities, not calamity.

Yes that’s true, the stove was only the first of the three boating terrors we were to encounter. After dinner and playing “Up The River”, a card game taught to me by my grandfather, we spent a peaceful night, dreaming of “messing about in boats.” The morning was bright and much less humid than the day before, and the wind was gusting to twenty knots. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, fried biscuits, orange juice and coffee. After breakfast my father and John were on deck preparing to explore the surrounding cove by dink, and my mother and I were finishing the dishes down below. When I popped up on deck, I found my father hovering over a navigation chart and pointing out to John various marks. Then my gaze moved to the shoreline, which was fast approaching; we were dragging anchor. “Look dad, start the engine”, I cried as I ran to the bow to start hauling in the dislodged anchor. My dad shouted, “turn on the number two battery Bernice”, and cranked up the engine. John ran forward to help me haul up the anchor, and we avoided running aground, which BTW, would have most likely have lead to hours of boredom, as we waited for tide or towboat on a Saturday morning. However, the idea of running aground always sparks fear in the hearts of sailors both new and old. Thus we narrowly avoided calamity number 2.

Alright you’ve got my attention. What was number 3?

We motored out into the river against the current and the wind; leaving the green markers on the right and the red on the left, which can lead to some confusion if you know the quote, “red right returning”. Returning meaning from the ocean; the confusing part is markers change at mouths of rivers and inlets. In any case, after entering the river I took over the helm and headed into the wind, while John and my dad hauled up the main. I gradually let the boat fall off, which means heading so that the wind fills the sail. My mother stood on the cabin steps, and peered out from under the open bimini top. My father adjusted the topping lift, which raises the boom. The boomvang which holds the boom down and can keep the boat from jibing unexpectedly, snapped and flew at tremendous speed past my mothers face. Luckily no one was hurt, and my dad fixed the fastening while we were underway. We sailed home without further incident, except for the usual problem of retrieving the lines, left hanging from the rear poles at the dock. All in all it was an enjoyable trip, which if planning a longer voyage would have been considered a relatively uneventful shake-down cruise.


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Winds of Fortune

All spring I was looking forward to sailing up to Cape Code, with my parents on their boat. NOT happening.

What’s so bad about that?

Coming to terms with the fact that my parents will not be able to take long trips on their boat anymore, and what that really means. What it really means is that the quality of life is sometimes beyond your/their control. Maybe it’s not exactly the quality of life; it’s the loss of the ability to live life to the fullest. I know this already in small ways. For example, I spent the last several days painting a house, humping a big ladder around, climbing up and down, and painting this and that. I’m definitely not as fast as I was at thirty or even forty. Once in awhile I look in the mirror, and say “who is that?” And for God’s sake keep those magnifying mirrors away. I will tell you straight off; I am not a vampire. You do not need to test me. Vampires live forever, or so the legend goes. All Anne Rice fans know, not only are they attractive, but quite lovable as well.

Sailing to vampires?

More precisely sailing to living forever. I won’t, you won’t and most significantly they won’t live forever.

Duh, we know this already.

I know you know, and I know I know, but I forget to remember. Is it a short term memory deficit, or is it a short term memory device for escaping the program? Perhaps it’s like living with your fingers on Ctrl Alt Del.

“Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.”

–George Bernard Shaw


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Blogsnob Hacked

Temporarily removing my blogsnob link. Hacked or whatever it’s creating a huge graphic.


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Tuesday Too # 18

Tuesday Too1.) When was the last time your pet gave you a scare? What happened? If you’re not a “pet person”, how come?

Last night, I couldn’t find Elliott anywhere. We have a rule about closing the inner door before opening the outer door, because last week wild boy Elliott managed to get out of the house. He is not an out door cat. I say to myself, as I’m trying to go to sleep, “he’s hiding somewhere”. NOT, I get up and look all over the house again, and he’s nowhere. Even though I know he can’t be outside, I go out and start calling him. There he is outside again, but how? On the second floor of the house is the one and only air conditioner, the kind with little plastic slats on each side that slide up to the edge of the window frame. He broke right through one side, and somehow jumped or climbed down the ivy two floors without hurting himself. He’s used up two of his nine lives in the last two weeks, which I told him was totally unacceptable!

2.) How do you think the things that you think, in other words what do you think consciousness is?

That’s a pretty damn big question girl for a Tuesday! How should I know what it is, or where it resides? I think maybe you’ve had one hot flash too many! Ahaha, maybe therein lies a clue, it is certainly all consuming when one lives in it. For me that’s the key issue, living in it, rather than what it is. Trying to figure out what it is, is a little like trying to turn around quick enough to see yourself.

3.) Taking off from last Tuesday’s question # 3, check this out: Women’s Treaty, and do something about it. If you don’t live in the United States, check out the position of your country on the treaty. Thanks to Elaine for her post on the treaty.


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Oaths Online Revisited


If you’re new here see this, if not, you know what I’m talking about.

What’s the status?

I only managed to fulfill one third of my promise; in other words 4 paintings by the twenty third. However, I’m not disheartened by the slim number. In fact I’m starting a new one today.

But how come you only finished 4?

As my mother would say, “too much going on at the depot.” On monday I turned in my final 4 copies of the thesis for my readers to sign off on. Hmmm, again the number 4, now if I were a gambling girl I’d play that one. Maybe it’s 423, or 234, or whatever. Speaking of numerology, the car broke on Friday the 21st = summer solstice.

The car broke?

Specifically the adjustable bracket that holds the alternator in place broke. It’s still broke, because finding parts for a seventeen year old car takes time. How much time you might ask, they tell me they’ll have the part tomorrow. I sure hope so, because it’s hard for my friend Abbott to walk to PJ’s for happy hour. Abbott is the guy I told you about a while back with the heart problems. I know that heart pills and happy hour don’t mix, but try telling a guy who’s been drinking for 60 years that you shouldn’t drink anymore. NOT listening is what you get.

How did we get from oaths to happy hour?

I’ve made some of my best oaths at happy hour; that’s also where I try to come up with the Tuesday Too questions on Monday night. Yesterday Abbott gave me a good scare. Since the car is broken, Abbott started off to PJ’s on foot about 10 minutes ahead of me, because he walks so slowly. I followed the same route he normally takes, which BTW goes past Memorial Hospital. I did not see him on the way. When I arrived at PJ’s he wasn’t there. Everyone asks “where’s Abbott?” and I say, “I thought he be here already”. I order my drink, and after another 10 minutes goes by, I start to worry. I decide I’d better call his daughter who lives nearby. I’m thinking he’s either at the hospital, or he went to Rocky Run instead of PJ’s. I won’t go with him to Rocky Run, because Meg the bartender is what they call a “slim pourer”, meaning if you drink vodka, you might as well be paying 3 dollars for a glass of water! Ten more minutes go by, and Abbott’s daughter is driving around looking for him when he finally shows up. He says he was walking over here all that time. hmmm, I say, “are you sure you didn’t go to Rocky Run?” “Nope, just walking over here.” I say, “let me see that twenty dollar bill then.” He says, “how do you know I didn’t have two of them?” We laugh, and I’m relieved he’s okay, get his daughter on the phone and call off the alert. So how did you spend your Saturday evening?


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Mozilla Rocks

It’s light, it’s fast and it doesn’t crash!

Yeah, but what’s wrong with it?

You’re right it’s not perfect. Here I am editing my blog, and what I don’t have available are the HTML tags you can click on at the top of the editing “machine”. Otherwise it picks up all the things good ole Netscape 4.7 doesn’t, such as numbers on the comments and the archive listiing on the main page.

Where’s one of your new paintings?

Right here.

“There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start.”

–Charles Baudelaire


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Tuesday Too # 17

Tuesday Too1.) What’s your favorite browser? Why do you hate “the other one”?

These days I mostly use IE 5. I used to swear by Netscape that IE sucked, but after blogging for a while I’ve found that most blogs look better in IE. You might ask why, and you may have noticed that some of’s pages won’t even come up in Netscape 4.7. In fact, this is not the fault of Netscape. It’s because the pages were not designed in such a way as to be browser compatible. The same thing holds true for blogs which look different/better in one than in the other. BTW, if you don’t care how it looks across browsers (Opera, AOL, Mozilla, etc.) you’re likely to lose some of your audience. One of the hardest things about designing web sites is making the site look the same in all/most browsers. The Testzone does a fairly good job of it, with two exceptions: (a) there is a thin red line that extends across the top in Netscape, but not IE, and (b) the archives are listed on the main blog page in IE, but I had to make a separate listing of archives page for Netscape 4.7 which I manually update via ftp every week. Netscape is more sluggish to load than IE, although both are way too fat. As of June 5th Mozilla build 1 is available for download. It’s light and getting good reviews; I’m going to check it out, and I’ll post on what I think of it.

2.) Are you fascinated by technology and the internet, or is it just a handy tool for you? How did you get involved in blogging?

In a word, yes. Yes meaning I’m fascinated, and have been since 98′. I’ve known about blogging for about 2 years; I stumbled across it while surfing for design/web development information. I bookmarked (Netscape holdover), forgot about it, and didn’t start blogging until late November of last year. No, getting into blogging had nothing to do with 9/11, but rather to do with taking a closer look at myself and others.

3.) What do you think about the alliance of conservative U.S. Christian organizations with Islamic governments (Iran, Libya, Iraq) “to halt the expansion of sexual political protections and rights of gays, women and children at United Nations conferences” (Washington Post article by Colum Lynch, June 17, 2002)?

I’m appalled by this for several reasons, but will hold my tongue and see what others have to say about it.

Post your URL in the comment


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”


I think I finished another painting; so it’s on to number 4. The one I just finished is two fairly large cowrie shells (same ones I used in the red pepper painting) on a gold reflective surface. I need to put it in the sun to dry, and look at it tomorrow with fresh eyes to see if I’m really finished. I’ll post one of the two latest on the web on Monday.

Hmmm… sounds like you’re behind schedule.

Yeah, quite a bit behind actually, but I’ve got some other things going on at the same time. I’ve heard from one of my two other readers on the thesis = “well done” and slight change to references format. One more reader to hear from, and then it’s really over! I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought it’s almost over, but this is really it, unless of course I’ve made some horrendous analyltical mistake that is chewed over at the last moment. Seem like the boat trip up north is slipping away = more and more I’m hearing, “well let’s just play it by ear”; however, will make it to Boston somehow this summer.


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Tuesday Too # 16

Tuesday Too1.) The New York Times recently had an article by David Gallagher on the war bloggers (after 9/11 and mostly right-wingers) vs. techie bloggers or so called veteran bloggers. Do you think the very nature of blogging is revolutionary? NOTE: you need to create a user name and password to access the NYTs.

2.) Are labels (i.e. feminist, left or right) really important? What if the meanings change over time? Is there some particular label you’re proud to wear and why?

3.) Would you be willing to give up, or reassess something you strongly believe in because hard evidence suggests that you are totally wrong?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”

–Mark Twain


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”

Oath Update

But, you never finished telling us about Mr. Potatoehead’s eyes?

The fact that Mr. Potatoehead had too many eye’s is “linked” to not always accomplishing what one sets out to do.


He had so many eyes that just crossing the room made him very dizzy, but after rolling on the therapists rug some of his eyes were permanently closed, and he found it much easier to maneuver. In other words, it’s much easier to focus on one thing, if you only have two eyes.

Haven’t you heard of the third eye?

Yes, and you have a point, but what is it? Never mind, I’ll tell you what I think about third eyes. If I have one, it’s not open. It’s one of those things on the shelf that I’d like to believe in, but don’t. Maybe I should take that back, because on reflection the theory may be similar to what I mean when I refer to being lucid in waking life.

I thought lucidity had to do with dreaming.

Well it does, but consider the fact that much of the time we spend awake, we are not present, or not aware. Many moments pass “mindlessly” by. To be “caught in the act” means more than what first comes to mind.

Such as?

Try trapped or ensnared, and think of the act as anything you happen to be doing. If you are a lucid dreamer think of it this way: are you aware of the doing while doing, in the same way that within the dream you realize you are dreaming? Perhaps “ordinary life” is like “ordinary dreaming”.

Why are you always talking about awareness?

Why bother to live without it? Awareness can sometimes be scary; although putting my finger on why is difficult. Maybe what’s more scary is the idea of how much of life slips by when I’m not completely present.

What’s this got to do with the oath?

According to my calculations, I should be finishing 4 paintings a week in order to have twelve new ones by the 23rd. This week I’ve only managed to do two. How does awareness fit into this process? It’s in the doing, it’s in the eyes of the potato, it’s in the way I go about it, or get diverted from it.

I’m not sure I’m following you.

It might be better, if you didn’t. However, if you must know, I’ve been distracted by other concerns (too many eyes) this week. I would just like to make sure that whatever it is I’m doing, I’m fully/lucidly doing it. I’m present rather that caught in the act.

“Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.”

Hermann Hesse


“Designated driver, on the information highway.”