Sunday, October 22, 2006

'Tis the season - for hurricanes and tropical storms

Australia Hurricane
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
NEW CALEDONIA - My friend Don Tiffin, builder of Sabbatical and a sailor of much renown, may be pinned down in a tiny harbor on Noumea aboard his Tayana 42 sailboat, while a hurricane gets ready to kick the snot out of the place.

Don was supposed to leave that area weeks ago for the safety of Australia where he was ready to dock his boat and fly to the U.S. to help us with the haulout of Sabbatical in a couple of weeks. Don has helped us with the two previous haulouts and we have been looking forward to his company on this one too. Sabbatical Chief Engineer Scott 'Scotty' Noble is hoping Don beats the odds and comes in too, so Scotty can do a mind meld and learn everything about the ship before we all take off in a couple of years and head back to where they really know how to make a margarita.

Some problems with rigging kept Don at the dock and even if they get fixed, it looks now like he may have to ride out a whopper of a storm with a couple of anchors out in the harbor. Being at the dock might not be the best option.


But just as I read about his travails, I noticed that there is a storm brewing off the coast of Mexico, only a week before the 160-boat fleet of the Baja HaHa sailboat race is set to take off from San Diego. It's the same race we did in 2002 and hope to do again before I get too old to hoist a margarita.

The hurricane season officially ends in Mexico Nov. 1, but the hurricanes have a bad habit of not checking their calendars carefully. In the 1980s, Cabo San Lucas was devastated by a hurricane in December, beaching a number of boats and wreaking havoc with the tiny town. Now the place is a small city and instead of a few boats, there are hundreds of yachts in the marina and after the HaHa arrives, easily 50-100 more at anchor and exposed to the weather.

Here's the tracking map for the tropical storm in Mexico.

Mexico storm

Let's hope that Paul doesn't have a brother lurking out in the Pacific.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Gala event, a tux that fit, and sitting with a Trekkie

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - It was a week ago tonight that I was sitting wedged between two gorgeous women - Admiral Sylvia Fox on my left and Michele Foss-Snowden on my right - at the Second Annual Green & Gold Gala at Sacramento State.

I haven't seen so many tuxedos since the last time I walked into a Men's Wearhouse. And the women and their beautiful dresses! Be still my heart.

At dinner, we discovered that Michele (who this fall joined the faculty of my academic department) had done her graduate studies on Star Trek. Yup, Star Trek. And during dinner, I was able to trade various Star Trek plot lines back and forth with her. We debated James T. Kirk vs. Jean Luc Picard and decided that the Next Generation series was the best.

It was definitely an evening that suggested we will live long and prosper. For a moment, I considered a Vulcan mind meld, but Michele's husband might have had questions about why I was squeezing her head.

My new colleague James Sobredo and his wife Lourdes sat with us also. James shot a lot of photos of Sylvia and I - my camera was safely tucked away in the back seat of the car. I had meant to bring in both my still cameras but in the excitement of parking and getting inside the University Union where the Gala was held, I forgot both.

James came to the rescue with a camera that made both of mine look likes toys so I'm glad it worked out that way.

At one point, the young female president of the Associated Students asked me to dance. What could I say? Of course! And for what seemed like an awfully long song, we spun around out on the dance floor while a contingent of her student-government colleagues stood around us in a circle, clapping. They probably were worried that I might fall down and they would need to catch me.

But I was reallllly glad I had taken some dance lessons last spring so that I was able to at least show a few slick dance moves that didn't date from the Pleistocene Age. (Jurassic maybe. But definitely not Pleistocene.)

The tux is put away and it will likely be another year before it makes another appearance. One thing is for sure. I have to stay at my current waist size - the seamstress let the trousers out as far as she could, enough that I was able to quaff plenty of champagne, eat a wonderful dinner and even cram in some dessert.

Live long and prosper, amigos...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sudafed, wine therapy and fighting head colds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The first cold of the season dropped me like a old growth redwood tree.

After attending a black tie event Friday night - in tuxedo, of course - I awoke Saturday with a crushing headache, sore throat and packed sinuses.

I didn't have that much fun the night before. In fact, my champagne and wine intake was waaay below average for such an event, controlled perhaps by the tux and/or the fact that there were enough photographers around to make the whole thing look like it was the People's Choice Awards.

But back to the cold.

A quick dose of Sudafed took care of most of the stuffiness, though it also lifted the top off my head and filled it with cotton, so most of the writing I did Saturday had a certain, well, odd quirky quality to it.

Still, when coupled that evening with a few glasses of cheap, er, thrifty, Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joe's, most of the symptoms disappeared.

The worst part about the cold was having to skip attending the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Phil Angelides debate, to which I had a ringside ticket. I was too much out of it to attend, plus I would have likely infected half of the university administration.


Last year in Mexico I got a terrible sinus infection New Year's Eve that stuck with me for a few days until I found just the right combination of Sudafed, aspirin and margaritas to make me feel, well, great, frankly.

Salt water immersion on a boogie board probably helped a lot, too.

Today the cold seems better, but the thought of Tequila therapy and soaking in some warm salt water seems like just the ticket.

Maybe I can put salt in the hot tub and break out my reserve bottle of Don Julio to knock the last of this cold out of me.

Andale! Andale!