Monday, May 21, 2018

Now that was a MF-ing entertaining movie...

Speaking of Deadpool 2.  I took my Honey out for lunch and a matinee.  If you appreciate sarcasm, understand something about Marvel superheros, are good with anti-heros, and are OK with foul language, this may be a good movie for you.  We both give it two thumbs up.  I enjoyed this WAY more than the recent Avengers movie.

Rated R for violence and language.  No shit.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

I got the fever...

... and the only prescription is: more cowbell.

If you said, "Christopher Walkin, Saturday Night Live sketch parodying the Blue Oyster Cult song Don't Fear The Reaper," you get 50 bonus points.

"Only 50?" you protest?  Quit your whining - that was an easy one.

My fever is more of the "cabin" variety.  With the gusty winds, blowing dirt, and weekend crowds, we stayed close to home yesterday.  There was some discussion about taking the boat out today, but the light winds of this morning turned out to just be a lull.  On the bright side: the wind direction stayed mostly southeast, so no blowing dust/sand today.  Of course, this is my fault: we ran the car through the car wash on Thursday.

Joan is enjoying some reading time, I decided to take the Vespa out for a ride around town.  Plenty of traffic out there - it's the weekend.  I rode around to the marina in town (South Point), just to give myself a place to to ride to.  It is right across the ICW from our island, but a "great circle" route to get to by land.  Along the way, I rode by the turning basin... white caps in that protected basin!  Wind is ESE @ 20, gusting to 29.  Which is about the speed I was riding on most of this outing.

I didn't stop for photos, didn't even look to see what the current scooter tag might be - just enjoyed being out and about.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Middle of the freakin' night...

I really don't like it when the phone rings at 2:30 am.  It's never a fun call.

There is a recently installed automatic gate at the entrance to our village.  The guard shack is still there, and it is manned.  There is a lane for owners, where a tag on your windshield opens the gate.  Visitors have a separate lane with a box where people can punch in "your number" and you will receive an automated call and be able to open the gate for your visitor with your phone.  They still have to stop at the guard shack.

Or, you get some asshole who punches your number at 2:30 in the morning.  I called the guard shack and told the security guy what just happened... "Yeah, they're at the gate right now - do you want me to let them through?"

"NO!  It's the middle of the f-"

"Oh, they just left.  If they come back, do you want me to let them through?"

"Absolutely NOT!"

"Oh, wait - they're coming back.  Do you want me to let them through?"

"Are you not listening??  Do NOT let them in.  If you can't stop them from punching in numbers, call the Police or the Sheriff."

"OK - I'll go talk to them."

It was a restless night after that.

When I got up, I started my routine: turn on some news, open the shades, feed Rufus, get my morning wake-up snack and Joan's coffee ready to go.  Oh, goody: the Royal Wedding in on NBC.  And ABC.  Yep, CBS, too.  Holy shit - I think it's on the Weather Channel, as well.  A prince marrying an actress... we were invited, but they didn't include Rufus on the royal invitation, so I told Joan to send them a salad shooter and our regrets.  I'm guessing no one woke them up at 2:30 in the morning.

I'm gonna need a nap.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Well, that blows...

The wind.  Yes, it is always windy here.  There is a reason this area is voted in the Top 10 of wind-surfing destinations.  During our "springtime," the wind is generally light in the early morning, then builds as the day goes on.

With winds predicted to be 25mph and higher over the next several days, I told myself I'd "see if it was down enough for a morning cruise today"... nope.  The weasels were predicting 20+ mph by 10:00; turns out they were a bit behind on that.  Before 9:00, I went out to wrestle with the boat cover; it's a beast to put on, but it comes off pretty easy if/when the wind cuts us a break.

Along with those SSE winds comes the higher temperatures... it was 82º by the time I finished with the cover.  The predictions are for 100º+ in the Valley; we'll probably see upper 80s here on the coast.

This isn't just a weather report - we base our activities on what Mother Nature has in store.  Won't be boating.  Maybe a short scooter ride.  Hopefully, the BBQ place has fixed their water problem.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It's all good...

The weather weasels are predicting a lot of wind the next 5 days.  Well, today wasn't supposed to be windy.  Yeah, they lied.  Maybe it wasn't a lie... maybe they were just wrong?

I took the boat out this morning.  Not for a solo fun outing, but to check and see if the engine sputtering problem was gone... seems to be.  The solution was pretty simple: the vent inside the fuel cap had disintegrated, probably from that crappy ethanol stuff in our fuel.  Unfortunately, you couldn't see inside to the venting to know that was the problem, until you took the cap apart.  And by "you," I mean: me.  I picked up another vented fuel cap at Bass Pro yesterday - I had looked over the fuel lines and fuel filter: all good.  With another vented fuel cap, I felt OK with taking the original apart.

The boat started and ran normally at the dock.  In spite of the building wind, I wanted to test it out under some load to make sure it was running OK.  So, out the canal and into the turning basin.  Oh, look: that dredging ship is in our port...

You get some perspective here: that blue crewboat on the right is 105' long.

I ran the boat up to put a load on it; brought the power back... all good.  More of the same, only longer... all good.  I ran it just above idle.  Throttle wide open.  All good.  I hope that cap takes care of the hesitation issue.

Heading back towards our canal...

Yes, it is protected on the north side of our island - notice the water is relatively calm.  It is white caps on the other side of the island.

While I was doing this, Joan was working on house projects; I have to say that I would rather be on a boat.  Even if I'm not sure it will stay running. 

Afterwards, Rufus joined me in the guitar room while I gave the X20 a good workout with the Bose-on-Bose set up.  Yeah, I really like this.

Out for lunch, heading to Porky's BBQ... the smell as we opened the door made me drool.  Before we could get to our table, the manager came out and said, "I have bad news, my friends - there is a problem with the water in the building: it isn't working.  So, I can't serve you."

Joan asked, "Can we get it to go?"  She knew I had my mouth ready for BBQ.

"I am so sorry.  It is a sanitary thing.  I hope they can get it working again very soon, if you want to stop back."

I wiped the drool off my chin and we made other plans... got to be flexible.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

More work...

No, we didn't take summer jobs.  You know how you get something new, and it is supposed to make life even easier?  And, when you get into it, there is even more work involved?  Yeah, kinda like that.

We made a trip to the semi-big city today.  Joan ordered some shoes to be delivered to the store... and was notified two hours later that her shoes were waiting for her (yesterday).  So, this morning, we went to Dillards in Harlingen.  Just like it is supposed to work, they had the shoes for her at Customer Service.  Pretty obvious that they had them in stock in the store, but way better than making that drive to see if they had them in stock.

Cute shoes...

Something I wanted in Harlingen, too: a visit to Bass Pro to pick up a vented fuel cap for the boat.  Coming in yesterday, the engine sputtered and sounded like it was not breathing right.  I pumped the fuel bulb to see if it was a fuel starvation problem, and the bulb didn't firm up.  I opened the fuel cap when we got back to the dock, got a "whooooshing" sound, and then the bulb firmed up.

I looked over the fuel lines and connections - everything seemed normal.  Running the boat at the dock, with the fuel cap off, it ran perfect.  My diagnosis: need a new vented fuel cap.  And, yes, Bass Pro has all that stuff.

Next: meat.  Sam's Club down here gets their steaks from IBP (Iowa Beef Packers) - good stuff.  On to lunch, then heading back home.

According to the tracking info: the package I have been waiting for is out for delivery.  In that package: a new compact PA from Bose.  It has been getting great reviews.  While I was out replacing the fuel cap and testing it, Joan came down to the boat and said, "Your Bose is here!"

No, I didn't drop everything and run inside; I finished what I was doing with the fuel tank and cap - hopefully, all is good - then I went inside.  I opened the box and pulled it out - yep, it is very compact, but feels solid.  Of course, now I need to go give it a try.

Since sending in the Fishman acoustic amp power head for repair a couple weeks ago, I haven't been playing plugged in much.  We think that powerhead is on its way back to me; Fishman hasn't been particularly communicative.

I plugged my X7 into the little Bose, and... it sounds great!  I plugged in a microphone - also great.  I tried the same stuff with my bigger Bose, and it is surprising how close this smaller unit comes to the bigger one in terms of sound and tone.

Next step: plug in the Play Acoustic (vocal harmonizer and guitar sound shaping pedal)... the guitar was cutting out.  After switching cords and trying a bunch of work arounds, I determined the problem is definitely with the Play Acoustic, not either of the Bose units.  That Play Acoustic takes 5 cables in and out to make it work - each cable needed to be tested to see if that was the culprit.  Nope, it is the unit itself.  Another item to send in for repair.

I tried a bunch of different configurations with the Bose S1 (the new one), plugged another vocal harmonizer into it, then ran a direct line out from the S1 to my L1C... oh my goodness, that sounds really good!

Joan was very patient while a played the same licks over and over to determine the best settings, then another half hour of "Mic check, one two."  Once dialed in, it won't take but a few minutes to set up and fine tune this rig.  I am a very happy boy...

That little "box" in the front is the new S1; the tall skinny "stick" behind it is the L1C.  Each of them sounds good by itself - together, they really sound great.  The little one has reverb and better EQ on each channel, the big one has more highs and bass; they really do compliment each other.

That ate up most of the afternoon: not even time for a boat or scooter run.  Plenty of time for giving Rufus attention, though.  He is still in the learning process for his grooming; and Joan is also learning how he prefers to be held when being brushed.  He spent some time with me in the guitar room, looking everything over.  He likes it when I sing and play.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


One of the downsides of being retired: you don't get a break from it.

We took the scoots out, with a lunch stop planned.  Riding on SPI, we drove by some flowering trees and bushes.  I said, "This reminds me of when we used to vacation in Hawaii: tropical weather, the smell of salt air, flowers, and sun screen."

Joan suggested we try a restaurant we haven't done before: The Painted Marlin.  We have our favorites and tend to go back to them.  The Painted Marlin looked nice from the water, when we took our boat along the small boat channel.  She said, "I checked their menu on-line - they have a nice variety."  That's "code" for: they have stuff that I will eat.

We pulled up in front of the restaurant...

Going inside... well, it is an open air restaurant, with seating inside and out...

We picked a table just to the left of the above photo, with some shade; our view...

Look at that beautiful water - now, this really feels like vacation!  Even better: "Happy Hour lunch selections.  The food was great - we will definitely put this into our "rotation."

After that leisurely lunch, we rode the scoots back across the causeway and onto our island.  "Well, I supposed we should get some time on the boat, huh?" I suggested.  I asked if Rufus wanted to come along... seems to me that he did, but one of us thought it might be too warm for the furry boy (upper 80s mid-afternoon).  He wasn't happy being left behind.  Again.

Heading out...

Even under the bimini, there is a lot of sunlight reflecting around.  We wear neck gators on the boat and the bikes...

OK, I'll play, too...

We intended to keep this outing relatively short - after all, this is vacation today.  If we see some dolphins, fine; if not, fine.

It wasn't long before we saw a couple fins well in front of us - they went for a deep dive when a dumbass in a small runabout ran almost over the top of them.  I will never understand that behavior.

We moved on to that general vicinity.  Joan called out, "Come back - the idiots are gone!"  And...

There were 4 of them, moving right along to the west.  We watched for a bit, then waved good-bye to them...

Heading towards the Port Isabel Channel, this guy gave us a slow pass...

Proof that there are good guys out there.

Back home.  Joan let Rufus out while I was cleaning the boat; she brought him out to the boat, no leash.  He stayed for a while, then walked about on the dock.  When he went around the corner of the house, Joan went after him... don't want him getting too independent.