Monday, December 30, 2013

The book signing...

Mother Nature was not cooperative - it was 51º when we got up, and had dropped to 42º, with rain and wind gusting to 30 mph when we were heading to the bookstore.

"I don't think I'd be going out on a day like this, if I didn't have to," I told Joan on the way over.  But, I am a candy-ass when it comes to cold weather.  ;-)

I was surprised when we got to the bookstore to see some cars in the lot.  Relief - there were people there for the signing... I had concerns that I'd be talking to Joan and the bookstore owners the whole time.

I sat down at the table about 20 minutes before I was scheduled, and there were people waiting to get books signed, and seated... I guess, waiting for words of wisdom from the author...

Grif, the bookstore owner, told me, "This is the best crowd we've had in months for a book signing!"  I was delighted.  People were buying books - he was delighted.  He provided coffee and hot chocolate to warm people up; the folks in the audience asked good questions.  I told cat stories and signed books.  I had been concerned before we got there, but this was fun!

Towards the end of the time allotted, I played a few songs...

I had debated bringing a PA, but this worked fine to sing and play unplugged... and I didn't have to schlep equipment in the nasty weather.

Grif had placed a nice book order with me less than two weeks ago.  I brought another box of books with me today... just in case.  Good thing we brought them - sold them all.  That gave me a nice warm feeling on this cold day! ;-)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A short respite...

A beautiful sunny start to the day, but the weather weasels are predicting another norther to roll in later today.  So, a good morning to get out on the scoots.  We took a ride up South Padre Island to our favorite nature walk...

We didn't get a lot of exercise the last few days - it felt good to stretch our legs.  Plenty of bird-watchers on the walkways.  We were enjoying the fresh air, but took time to check out the birds...

Looking back towards the Event Center...

The walkways...

There are other critters here besides birds...

No, we didn't see any alligators today.  Of course, I didn't get off the walkway to look closer.  ;-)

More than a 50% chance of rain the next few days... maybe Mother Nature thought Steph was just kidding about flying out?

And, the clouds parted...

We took Steph and Dan to the airport yesterday.  We joke about Stephanie "bringing the bad weather"... it was gray all day long.  Gray on the trip to the airport.  As soon as they checked their bag and were committed to the flight, the gray clouds parted and the sun came out.

It was great having them here for the holidays.

After lunch out, we decided to go to the Lighthouse Square.  Steph asked if we could go to the Sea Life Center... it is a small aquarium and touch tank exhibit run by the folks who do run the dolphin watch Fins to Feathers.  One thing we didn't expect to see in there: a cage with a kitty in it.  A sweet looking 8 month old kitty that is looking for a home.  Free.  Already spayed.  Gray with stripes, white paws and belly.

"Don't even look at that," I said.  Of course, I was ignored.  The young man working there was very quick to offer to take the kitty out of the cage... Joan and Steph both jumped at that.

"Izzy needs a little sister."

"No, Izzy is happy being an only furry kid."

"Oh, she is so sweet, and I love her name!" (Luna)

"No.  And, by that I mean: NO!  Put that cat down.  Seriously, you don't know where that cat has been."  Pretty sure my words had the same effect as Charlie Brown's teacher: "Bwaa, bwaa, bwaaaaa."

"It is Saturday.  You'd have to have that cat checked by the vet.  You'd need another carrier.  Another food dish and litter box.  And, remember you're rule: only one cat on a boat!"  Still being ignored.

"Look, she likes me!"  And, that same look in those eyes when we first saw Izzy.

Dan was on my side.  Well, I assumed that, since he was silent.  I knew if I wavered for even a moment, our household population would be increased by 33%.  I pulled out the big gun: "What if it doesn't get along with Izzy?"

A look of concern.  Point driven home.  "OK, time to go!"  Breaking the eye-contact was key.  We got out of there with the same number of family that entered.

Someone is going to get a beautiful little kitty.  We already have one.


And, it is a beautiful sunny start to the day.  Little Izzy is on her Momma's lap.  Steph and Dan are back with their furry kids.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book signing...

If you find yourself in the Tropical Tip, I will be doing a book signing on Monday, Dec. 30th, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at Paragraphs book store on South Padre Island. 

Meet The Author Series at Paragraphs

Cat On A Leash

Reception, and signing with author, Captain Jim Bathurst
There is a fine line between admiration and stalking. The story of a persistent cat, the couple she “dated”, and their travels aboard the motor-vessel Wild Blue. The 50-something couple retired early, sold their home & photography business, scooped up the cat, and hit the waterways. Life isn’t always easy onboard a 25 foot boat, but it is an interesting escape. Featuring Molly the cat.
This heart-warming story will touch the soul of any pet lover.
James Bathurst is the story-teller behind Cat On A Leash. Known as Captain Jim to his audience on the internet, Jim’s style is off-beat and folksy. Writing isn’t his “day job;” Jim was a photographer for 32 years. During that time, he wrote articles for many photography magazines, taking often dry trade topics and making them humorous.
Jim retired from a career in photography at age 52 to take his wife, Joan (also known as “the Blonde”) and Molly, the boat cat, traveling. It was about that time that he started a cruising thread on a boating forum; “The Cruising Adventures of Wild Blue and Crew” soon became one of the most visited sites on that forum with over 200,000 views.
The “captain” part mentioned above isn’t just a nickname - Jim holds a US Coast Guard Master license, a commercial pilot’s license, and a spirit of adventure.
Bathurst and his wife Joan make their home in Port Isabel.  Prior to making this their “home base” for their travels, the Tropical Tip was their seasonal escape since the mid-90s.
The newest member of the Bathurst family is Isabel (Izzy).  She is a beautiful long hair domestic cat, rescued from the Laguna Madre Animal Shelter.
You can view more of Jim’s writing at

This event is free and open to the public
Paragraphs On Padre Boulevard, 5505 Padre Blvd. South Padre Island, TX
For information call us at 956-433-5057

Friday, December 27, 2013

Family Game Night...

And Day.

We've been occupied, not able to find time to make a post.  Christmas was a delight - we picked up Steph and Dan from the airport on Christmas Eve day...

The Brownsville Airport couldn't be easier - one gate, you are right there when they get off the plane; the luggage is on the carousel in just a few minutes.

End of the day...

Santa was able to find Steph and Dan, even though they were 1348 miles from home.  The obligatory we-just-got-up-and-are-opening-presents photos...

That's a Rainsong Guitars t-shirt for me (didn't seem right wearing a Taylor t-shirt when playing the Rainsong); and Joan now has Tervis-type wine glasses (great for the boat).  And, Dan's superhero look...

New belt... we don't take him out in public like that. ;-)

Joan and Dan comparing coffee...

It was a little disturbing that Steph and Dan gave our sweet little Izzy catnip...

Then, the games... Steph and Dan brought a card game, Apples to Apples, amongst others, that we play for gifts and envelopes with gift cards and cash.

Joan cooked up a storm: ham and lasagne for Christmas Eve, a prime rib for Christmas Day...

The day after Christmas... Steph likes to get "bargains" with the half price stuff.  We have a Super Wal-Mart in our small town, and not a lot of population base.  After breakfast at Manuel's (a must when the kids visit), it was off to Wally World... and small crowds.  They found a shopping cart full of stuff, most of which will go to their students, and some snack stuff to be eaten while back at the games.  A trip across the causeway to Paragraphs (the book store), then a late lunch at Pier 19.

Joan was in charge of gifts and envelopes for the games.  My job was the directives.  "Directives?" you ask.  Each prize comes with selecting a directive - it may tell you to give the gift to the person two places to the left.  Or, you may have to answer a question (name all 8 of Santa's reindeer plus the red nose one) in order to keep the gift.  The games are fun, the directives are part of that fun.

Getting to spend the holiday with Steph and Dan is a delight.  It's a long-standing family joke that the weather turns crappy whenever Steph comes to visit... not crappy cold this time.  A couple nice days, some rain last night, and some overcast.  We make our own warmth when we're all together.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas...

The house is full of good smells (Joan is cooking up a storm); Steph and Dan are in the air enroute to our house.  It is a treat to be able to spend the holidays with the 4 of us.

Warm holiday wishes from the Tropical Tip...

Jim, Joan, and Izzy

Monday, December 23, 2013


Remember when you were a kid, and you couldn't wait for Christmas to come?

About 24 hours from now, we will be heading to the airport to pick up Steph and Dan - can't wait to see them!

Little Izzy asked, "Is that the girl who calls you Dad and won't put me down?"

"Yes, Iz, Stephanie is our little girl."

"Like me?"

"Well, kinda; you are our little furry girl; Stephanie was born to us, we rescued you from the Animal Shelter.  You came to us pretty well litter trained; we had to change Stephanie's poopy diapers... for what seemed like a very long time.  And I know you won't take my car without permission, or go off to college a long ways away, or get married and leave your Daddy.  Right?"


"Oh, and one thing you could learn from her: Stephanie didn't talk back to us... at least not while we were in the same room.  And, just so you know, Santa is a close personal friend of mine."

"I'm sorry I hissed at you."


I can't believe that line still works. ;-)


I got a call from a neighbor this morning: "I need a guitar-playing author - do you know where I can find one?"

She needed a book for a Christmas gift.  I told her I could fix her up.  When she came over to get a book, she brought a plate of Christmas cookies!  Nice bonus!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

On the high seas...

... or, the low canal.

It's the Winter Solstice.  Well, yesterday; but today we start gaining a bit of daylight each day.  Our tides have been typically low this time of year and will be for a while.  But, this morning, the tide was good for tossing the dinghy in and mounting the motor.

The wind was blowing about 15; I decided the maiden voyage should be in the canals here... I want to make sure the motor isn't going to crap out on me too far from home.  The wind has shifted to the north northeast; once out of our canal, I turned into another to take me into the wind - if there's a motor issue, it will be easier rowing back with the wind instead of against it.

Joan was at the grocery store, getting the last minute things she needs for cooking for the next week.  I wanted to make sure I could get the dinghy in and motor on solo, anyway.  All good - didn't drop anything (like a motor) into the water.  I was just about to start it up when the Blonde returned... "Want to go with me?" I asked.

"No thanks, lots of groceries to put away, and I want to start cooking."

I pulled, and the motor fired up... first pull.  Then, before I could get the choke pushed back in, it sputtered and quit.  Another half dozen pulls and it was running again.  I tossed in a life jacket and shoved off.  I realized it has been a while (like maybe two years) since I motored a flat bottom dinghy... they tend to track like a leaf on a windy day.  And, today is a windy day.

After making a "snake wake" about half way down our canal, I figured out the crab angle needed to make this set up run reasonably straight.  Until I came out from behind the protection of the houses along the canal - in the open area, it was more on the job training.  ;-)  The motor that seemed reasonably quiet while testing it on a stand seems a lot louder when sitting right next to it in the dinghy.  Still, I'm moving... and not rowing!

Half way down two canals over, I cut the power to idle, just to make sure it would stay running.  Yep.  I pushed the kill button... might as well see if it will start back up.  Yep, first pull.  Next step, running out into the ICW - in the wind.  Just as I was about to come out of the canal, I could see a big tug and barge coming from the west!

An immediate about face was my plan.  I guess I am a little rusty with flat bottom dinghy maneuvering: the boat started the turn, and as I turned the motor further, it ran the dinghy sideways!  I think I need to alter this plan... a 90º swing of the motor, a short burst of power, then swing the motor back to the side and another short burst of power... the boat started a wide, skidding turn.

I do believe I'll work on that again, when I don't have to contend with a big-ass barge.  Back in the canal, and a couple more 180s... that took the entire width of the canal to complete.  Back out towards the ICW, and a bay shrimper was chugging the same path as the barge.  This time, a wide, skidding 360... and the opportunity to see how the dinghy handled some boat wake.

All good.  I only ran in the ICW far enough to get back into another canal.  Protected from the wind again, I crabbed to the right (sitting on the left side) and ran up the canal.  Two 90º turns, and I was back in our canal.  As I got to our place, Joan was out on the deck with the camera...

and, I was back...

You've probably heard the saying, "I can turn this boat in its own length."  Well, I can turn this boat in the length of one of those barges I just saw.  I may need some more practice. ;-)

I pulled the motor off, put it on the stand and flushed it with fresh water.  I think it's going to be just fine.  I pulled the dinghy up out of the water and rinsed it off, too.  Whew!  This is a lot more work than pulling up and tying off Wild Blue.

Wild Blue needs a new dinghy, and this one is going to work just fine.


Back in the house, I sat on the couch to rest my weary shoulders; moving that boat and motor around is work.  Apparently, I was sitting too close to someone else's favorite spot...

OK, you can have it back...

A day without an Izzy hightlight is like a day without chocolate... and that would be bad. ;-)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The dumbest thing I've ever seen...

Spoiler alert!!

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues...

Yes, the dumbest movie I've ever seen.  That is not a bad review.  In the tradition of the Airplane movies, which were hysterically dumb, or Dumb & Dumber, which by its very name should let you know it is going to be dumb, this latest Ron Burgundy movie had me laughing and groaning.  The good kind of groan when the jokes are SO bad.

It is good to see someone like Will Ferrell do what he does best... and this schtick is the best of any other dumb character he has played.  Hopefully, he won't decide he needs to be a "serious" actor any time soon, like other comedic actors have done once they are established.  If he does, he should have plenty of Ron Burgundy money to live on for a very long time.

This movie has been getting a lot of hype... and it is every bit as dumb as you expect, and then some.

Two thumbs up.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Yep. It works...

It's going to be another warm, windy day.  I made some adjustments to the make-shift motor stand, put a waste basket full of water under the lower unit, gassed it up and...

it fired up.  Well, it took a bunch of pulls to get the gas through the carb, but it starts, runs, smooth throttle, reasonably quiet (compared to the 2 stroke it is replacing), and a real transmission, of sorts.  By that, I mean it has forward and neutral; rotate the motor 180º for reverse.  Again, a big improvement over the old motor that has no neutral... start it and be ready to move!

I got started before the wind came up this morning... only blowing 18 right now, it is supposed to increase to 25 gusting to 35 as the day wears on.  So, if I decide to give the motor a salt water workout today, it will only be in the canals here on the island.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A day late and a dollar...

Well, I already paid the dollars.  The outboard motor showed up today... while I was out getting some u-bolts for adapting a two wheel truck into an outboard stand.  Fortunately, Joan was here to sign for it.

The good news: it comes well-packed and appears to be undamaged.  I get to do the "pre-delivery inspection" (would that be the post-delivery inspection?), which mostly amounts to putting oil in the engine, checking for any loose connections, gassing it up, and test running it.  It was already test run at the factory, then the oil drained out for shipping.

The bad news: the wind is blowing out of the south at about 30 miles per hour, gusting to about a thousand.  I'm kidding... a thousand and three.  No way am I doing to put the dinghy in the water to fire up the motor and take it for a test run.  Remember when you were a kid (Seriously? You can remember back that far??) and you got a bike for Christmas... and the snow was up to your hind end?  Yeah, that's how this feels.  Kinda.  Except there isn't snow.  But, you know what I mean: new toy and you can't play with it... oh, sure you could sit on the bike in the living room and make screeching brake sounds... but, if I'm going to play motorboat, well... nevermind.

The forecast for the next few days is more wind.  Back on the bright side, it was in the upper 70s today, so at least that wind just roars in your ears and makes it impossible to put down anything lightweight (a piece of wood I just finished cutting blew into the canal before I could pick it up)... it doesn't cut through you like it did during that last norther.

One of us had a walk-about again today.  Yes, the short, furry one.  Joan let her out on the deck, with a gate she fashioned.  Well, apparently, the wind opened that just enough so our sleek little girl could get by it.  I was sent on a search and rescue mission, but little Izzy must have heard me and was back on the deck before I got back.

Putting a cat in "time out" is like a reward: "You go lay down and think about what you've done!"  Does this look like the face of someone with even an ounce of remorse...

Damn, I wish I could sleep like that.  And, here's her, "Don't you think I'm sweet, Daddy?" face...

Yeah, that is one very sweet face.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Some boat folks know the meaning of that: Other People's Boats.  If you can't be out on your own boat, Other People's Boats can still get you out on the water.

We have some new friends here on our island - Mike and MJ (and furry kids Gracie and Yogi).  They are nice folks and have definitely embraced the lifestyle here.  They've been here about 5 days and have taken delivery of a new boat (Blue Wave 22), rigged up some electronics and other goodies, adapted a boat lift for their new boat... and today was launch day.

I offered to give Mike a hand with getting the boat launched... not that he needs any help, but just along for the ride, to provide some local information.  First time dunking the boat in and all went well.  The original plan was to move the boat from the launch ramp to their dock... a quick side-trip to the Brownsville Ship Channel gave Mike a good feel for the handling of the new boat.  It is like a fast magic carpet!  It is a fishing machine, 175 hp on a lightweight, shallow draft hull - it moves right out!  Along the way, we saw some dolphins, checked out a couple good, shallow fishing spots, and got Mike oriented to the water here.

Everything checked out great on the boat, we brought it back to their dock, and got it on the boat lift - they are good to go!

Back home, I was expecting the delivery of an outboard motor today.  Well, that's what the tracking said yesterday... alas, today, the "Out for delivery" status never showed up, and they moved it back a day.  I have been anxious to get the dinghy in the water and putt around... since the motor was going to be a no-show, I tossed it in and rowed it around.  I wanted to make sure there are no leaks...

This is the current version of the dinghy we had that literally came apart at the seams, but lasted longer than we were lead to believe.  Turns out, this is made by a different company; after some initial frustrations (caused entirely by the most ineffective owners manual I've ever seen), I have been convince that this boat is, indeed, an upgrade from what we had.  The inflation tubes are bigger, but there is more interior room.  Much more carrying capacity.  It can take a bigger motor.  At this point, any motor would be good, but I found out that it also rows much better than our old dinghy.  I still wouldn't want to be out rowing in a strong wind, but this was pretty effortless (thanks mostly to the better designed oar lock).  Yep, I'm looking forward to mounting the motor on there.

The info on the boat says this one is lighter than our old one.  Maybe.  Maybe I'm getting softer?  The two of us were able to heft it up on the dock easily... not so easy by myself.  Got to keep it clean and pretty...

Should be fun, and it will get us out on the water under power until we get back to Wild Blue.  Assuming the motor shows up.

It was another "Chamber of Commerce Day" in the Tropical Tip - absolutely perfect weather; temps in the 70s, abundant sunshine, low humidity, not much breeze.  It was a good day for releasing rescued sea turtles back into the water.  Two weeks ago, we had much colder than normal weather... cold enough that it "cold shocked" many of our local sea turtles.  Rescue volunteers pulled over 100 sea turtles out of the cold water and took them to Sea Turtle, Inc. to allow them to warm up.  They didn't all make it.  Today, they released all the surviving sea turtles back into the Gulf waters from the beach on South Padre Island.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Island Time...

Some think that means it's "5 o'clock somewhere."  My definition is more along the lines of: things will get done when they get done.

We have our morning routine, and none of it happens in a hurry.  Coffee (for her) and hot chocolate (mine), some pastries.  Next course: fruit.  Then, Joan makes breakfast.  This morning, it was pancakes.  I heard some grumbling from the kitchen... "I do not like this griddle - it has been lousy since the first time I used it."  When I looked, she was trying to "pry" pancakes off the griddle.

"I'll take it to the garbage," I offered.  Seconds later, she had pancakes the size of our plates going in another pan... and nothing sticking.

After breakfast, it is guitar time... for as long as the Blonde is an appreciative audience.  Generally little Izzy's grooming time, too... until she decides she's had enough brushing.

A decent day; a bit cool, but nice enough to do our running with the scooters.  We stopped at Walgreens for something Joan wanted to get.  While there, I decided to get a flu shot.  The people at the pharmacy had to call a staff meeting to examine my insurance card... and then, without actually checking anything, decided my insurance didn't cover the shot.  "Fine.  I'm here, you're here, any chance I can still get the shot?"

"Fill out this form."  Fortunately, I am not pregnant.  Once they had my money, they left me sitting for quite a while.  Finally, the pharmacist called my name (I was the only one waiting), and stuck me, almost before I could get my arm out of my sleeve.  "You're done.  Be well."

"That's the whole idea of a flu shot."

Off to the grocery store.  Easy; not much of a crowd.  Next stop: the Post Office.  On what is the busiest "letter day" of the year.  Joan saw Wilma inside; I waited outside with the scooters.  For quite a while.  I entertained myself watching people park badly; the white lines designating parking spots don't count during the Christmas season.

It was well after lunch by this time, my belly told me so.  Joan asked if I wanted to go to the nearby Mexican restaurant... "Sure, or BurgerFi."  We decided to drop off the package from the Post Office and the groceries, then go eat.  It didn't take long at the house, but the bridge was out when we were ready to head off the island.

The swing bridge is the only way on and off this island, unless you are coming and going by boat.  Usually if the bridge is out, it is a 10 minute wait... unless it is a barge and tug, and then the bridge opens earlier, opens further, and you can count on 20 minutes.  Yep, we were there at the beginning of a barge going through.

After waiting for 20 minutes, watching the barge go through, the bridge started to close.  Mid-way through closing, it reversed direction, opening again.  That is very unusual.  Even if another commercial boat is coming, they usually clear the traffic that has been waiting.  Not this time.  The bridge swung all the way open again.  We found out later from the bridge guy that the second barge told him, "We're doing 8 knots and aren't going to be able to slow down."  Yep, I'd open the bridge again, too.  Our wait turned into a bit more than 40 minutes.

You really don't want to be on a schedule, coming and going here.  The bad news: the Mexican restaurant where we were going to eat, closed at 2:00, and it was 2:30.  We decided to take the scooters over the causeway for a juicy burger at BurgerFi.  We rolled up in front of that eaterie, not a car in the parking lot.  A sign on the door: closed until February for "remodeling."  That is generally a codeword around here for: we ain't coming back.  Especially for a place that only recently opened.  Too bad, the burgers there are good.

Joan suggested Padreritaville - today is "Meatloaf Monday."  We got there at 3:05.  One car in the lot.  The lady who was going to seat us said, "I think the meatloaf is gone for the day.  We stopped serving that at (checking her watch) 3:00."

"OK, maybe next time."

It was a short jaunt to Blackbeard's.  Joan said, "I know they serve off the lunch menu until 4:00."  My belly was telling me it was WAY beyond lunch.  Two cars in the parking lot.  The young lady seating us said, "Pick any table you want."

Finally.  This being the Christmas season, I was beginning to better understand Mary and Joseph's difficulty finding a place to stay... if necessary, I was ready to eat in a manger.  ;-)

The food was good; it was late enough that we won't need supper.  I was going to toss the dinghy in the canal and row it around... just to make sure it is water-tight.  By the time we got home, it was well beyond the warmest part of the day... maybe tomorrow.  That's Island Time.

And now, it is 5:00 somewhere.  :-)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Massage - ohhhh, that feels good...

A gentle pull on the legs, hands working the back of the neck and up towards the head.  Roll over and feel that luxurious fur on the belly.  No, not talking about me, my belly fur is less than luxurious, thanks for asking.

Some cats have it made.  Izzy would be one of those.  She knows the routine: Joan makes me hot chocolate with a couple small pastries.  She sits down with her cup of coffee.  And, Izzy gets her morning massage...

I am working to understand Izzy's thoughts, meows, and purrs.  (Molly and I understood each other perfectly).  It really is getting better.  Izzy is now just a bit younger than Molly was when we first met her, so this may be a matter of maturity.

What's that?  No, I'm not talking about my maturity; this is about Isabella.

Back to the communication.  Pretty sure she is saying, "Bet you wish you got rubbed like this."

She'd be right.  ;-)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

In the words of Ronald Reagan...

"Well, there you go again."

That fog this morning wasn't expected.  The next norther blew in earlier than forecast... on the bright side, this one is pretty weak.  As the wind built, we had some sunshine again this afternoon.  And another pretty evening sky...

Check out the palm trees in silhouette above... yeah, the wind has kicked back up with this front.  Tomorrow will be cool and windy (60º, winds 20 to 30 mph), but sunny.  I like sunny.


Speaking of weather, I got this chuckle from the NuWa Owners forum...

Followed by this...


That sound...

Foghorn in the distance.

It reminds me of mornings at Friday Harbor, where the fog was common.  Not so common around here.  I stepped outside to look down the canal - it looks like there is decent visibility, at least a mile.  The ship channel isn't far away; it must be thicker there.

The morning is calm.  The palm tree branches aren't moving.  63º, we have the door open.  Better to hear the sound of the foghorn and the birds.  The sound of the foghorn is getting closer.

Yesterday was a perfect day in the Tropical Tip: mid-70s, sunny, light breeze.  We made a drive into the Valley to get a motor for the dinghy.  The salesman was a dipshit; we decided to not give him our money.  Yeah, I know... I tried to buy a motor in stock.  Immediate gratification.  Gratification delayed, but that is my new policy: don't give my money to dipshits.  I may have to get some business cards printed up that say that.  ;-)

That's OK, I wouldn't be out in the fog in the dinghy, anyway.  I like the sound of a foghorn, especially when I don't have to be out in the soup.  :-)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pulling some strings...

No, nothing to do with Joan getting me a job.

The cold continues in the Tropical Tip.  No cabin fever for me, I had "a project" for today: restringing guitars.  I move out of the guitar room and take over the island in the kitchen... it's a good height for working on the guitars and plenty of light.

On the agenda: two Taylors and the Rainsong.  I checked my string supply - good to go.  The T5 got a new set of Elixir electrics.  With strings off, it gives me a chance to really clean the fretboard, too.

Next up: the 814...

I had a set of Martin acoustic strings that I bought to try on this guitar, but the Elixirs just sound so rich, I decided to try the Martins on the Rainsong.  I am particularly fond of the tobacco sunburst finish on the 814 - and it shines up nice!  Working on the island allows me to move to either side of the guitar...

This isn't a tough job, but I like to take my time and look the guitars over close while restringing.

Last, I put the Martin strings on the Rainsong.  The Rainsong is a carbon fiber guitar, with a crisp sound that some describe as piano-like.  Definitely different from my wood guitars.  I haven't tried Martin strings on any of my guitars, but they were recommended by some folks on the Taylor forum as having a "warmer sound," I figured this would be a good trial.  The B-string fought me... it kept jumping out of the tuning pegs... like about 20 times.  And sticking my fingertip each time in the process.  That's new.  Finally got it, and tuned it up.  Yep, that B-string is going to have to "work in."

When I cut each string to length, I tried to keep the loose end from shooting across the room... little Izzy waited with expectation after she saw the first one go flying.  I scooped it up quick, before she could chomp on it.

By the third guitar, she was over it - time to settle back in on her favorite blankie...

By the third guitar, I had to be over it, too - Joan needed her counter back to make some supper.  Now, I have to do some playing to get that initial stretch out of the strings.