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Happy New Year

I want to make a post tonight but me and the dog have been drinking.

Let me just say this. I’ve met a lot of people over the years and made a lot of friends. Tonight, I’ve received a few emails from some friends through my contact link on this page, that I haven’t heard from in a long time, and it honestly warmed my heart.

I had no idea that they’d even known about this place.

More to come tomorrow but for tonight, be safe and have a happy and prosperous new year.

The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger

Let me first say that I am not a movie critic. I have never made nor acted in a movie, therefore I am not qualified to be a movie critic and I will not try to critique this or any other movie. Also I should say up front that I’ve never been a big Heath Ledger fan.

Having said that, I just had the opportunity to watch The Dark Night last night. I typically don’t like super hero movies. I might have caught one or two of the Superman movies. I’ve never seen a Spiderman movie and I think I may have watched the Batman movie that had Jack Nicholson in it, but I can’t remember if I even watched the whole thing.

I wasn’t really into this movie either but I have to admit that all the hype that the media gave Heath Ledger for his performance in this movie was well deserved in my opinion. While there were some cool special effects and plenty of action, it was clearly Heath’s outstanding portrayal of the Joker that kept my interest throughout the movie. I found myself going to the kitchen for a drink or snacks when there would be a scene without him in it and when I’d hear his voice I found myself hurrying back to the TV to see what he was going to do next.

I wouldn’t have made it through a half an hour of this movie if it weren’t for Heath’s awesome depiction of the Joker. When the movie awards start coming out and he wins a plethra of them, I’ll know now that they were all very well deserved, and not just Hollywood handouts for a young man that died before his time.

Awesome job Heath.

Merry Christmas

Christmas for a single adult with no kids is pretty much a non-event. I woke up, got a shower and drove to my mother’s house around noon. My two brothers were already there. I exchanged gifts with my Mom and she had a slammin Christmas dinner in the works. There was roast pork and roast beef, mashed potatos and gravy, and broccoli with melted cheese. Nummy!

As we all get older and live our own lives it’s seems harder to make the time to spend with each other. We all have our own careers, houses to maintain, lawns to mow, and so forth. Now that I’m getting older I find that I enjoy the time I get to spend with my family a lot more. I should make more time to spend. They should make more time to spend too.  Problem is, everyone has different interests.  I’m into sailing and no one else is.  Dad is into car shows, but no one else is.  My brother is into gun and knife shows but no one else is……. and the list goes on.

Christmas Eve

Every year for the past 15 or 20 years, Christmas Eve is spent at my Dad’s house, beginning at 6:00 PM. Visiting Dad’s house for Chrismas Eve is kind of bittersweet. It’s great to get together with my brothers, my nephew, my grandmother, and Dad and his wife, but it’s seldom that we make it an entire evening without receiving one of Dad’s bitter sarcastic remarks or biting insults, and this year was no exception.

All in all it was a success. We had some snack food, socialized with some drinks, exchanged gifts, and enjoyed seeing each other and catching up with each other on our live’s recent happenings.

Another one goes in the books.

Compac 16 with a gaff rig

I’m the proud owner of a Com-pac 16. She’s not the prettiest girl at the dance but she’s a fine, stable vessel and she gets prettier the longer I own her. I just bought her last spring. She was owned by the city of Atlantic City New Jersey. They had an auction and believe it or not, only one person showed up for it. He bought the Compac for $10 and a few other hand made wooden boats for $1 a piece. He was a lucky man that day.

Anyway, he put her on Ebay and that’s where I got her for a little over $600. I had to buy new standing rigging for $300 and that’s all she really needed as far as parts go, but she was neglected and abandoned and it showed. I sailed her all last summer and the more I sail her, the more I love her.

She needed a makeover in the cabin. All the paint was peeling and flaking from the sides and the ceiling and the floor was desperately in need of some paint. I have a lot of friends at the river and I made a deal with Johnny to scrape and paint the interior of the cabin. Johnny is a 13 year old kid who is genuinely a good kid. He’s the kind of kid that makes fathers proud. Anyway, with Johnny’s parent’s approval, I made him a deal. I’d buy all the supplies and Johnny would scrape and paint the inside of the cabin, stem to stern, top to bottom. In return, I’d give him my Snark Sunflower. Johnny watched me learn to sail in the Snark the year before and he took an interest in sailing himself. This was his chance to earn his own first boat.

He did a great job. The cabin was now at least presentable. Even though it was a just a bare shell inside, at least it was clean and tidy and it looked and smelled like a fresh start. I sailed her all summer like that and now that the sailing season is over, I’ve begun some other upgrades.

My main problem last year was mast height. The lake where I sail has several railroad bridges. From the waterline to the bottom of the bridge is 20′ 8″. The Compac 16’s mast height from waterline to masthead is 21′ so I was too tall to go under the bridges. Bummer. I need to get under these bridges, because one has to go under the bridges to get to the spot where all my friends party. I am determined to sail to the spot where all my friends party, so this fall, this is what I did.

I went to the local saw mill and had them cut me a nice straight 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 x 16 piece of douglas fir. They cut it out of an 8x8x20 beam and they gave me the left overs too. I’m an Ebay ninja and I found a brand new gaff main sail for a sharpie and bought it for $100, which just by luck was the same square footage as the main and jib of the stock Compac 16 rig combined. So now, I had the sail and the lumber. I took a week off work and spent it in the driveway with a drawknife. I whittled myself a mast and 2 spars. The Compac 16 has a cabin vent cut out in the deck and that’s where I stepped the mast. I removed the vent and lowered it down into the cabin and built a mast step down on the floor of the cabin. So the mast basically goes through that existing factory vent opening and attaches to the cabin floor 26 inches below. All in all it was about 4 days of wood working, and a day of installing and tweaking the hardware and rigging.

The mast and spars are in my living room now. I’ve stained it with a beautiful mahogany stain and urethane and during the rest of the winter I’ll sand and apply a few more coats. I’m fairly certain that she’s going to handle just dandy with this new rig. Last year, in heavy wind, I sailed her with a full main and dropped the jib rather than reefing. With the center of energy directly over the keel, she was firm and responsive. I know this is going to work. Here’s a pic of the roughing out process. There are more pics of her linked on the right side of this page and I’ll post some pics of the finished product this spring.

I think the gaff rig gives her a great look. If she sails as good as I think she will, she’ll get a fresh coat of forest green paint below the rub rails next year and I’ll start tricking her out with all sorts of goodies.


Small town living and great customer service

I live in a small rural town, Thompsontown, PA. It’s nice to go to the local diner and everyone knows your name. It’s nice to know everyone at the local grocery and hardware store. Everyone in the town is almost like an extended family. There is little or no crime rate. People are nice.

One of the best parts about living in a small rural town is the customer service you get. If you are struggling for any reason, like perhaps you sprained an ankle. At the grocery store, the bagger will follow you to your car while carrying your purchases and load your groceries for you without even asking.

There’s a car dealer in town that services pretty much the entire county. Regester Chevrolet. They know me by name there. They know me from the diner and other shops around town and I bought my truck there. I dropped it off the other day for state inspection, tire rotation and a lube oil and filter. They politely gave me a loaner car to use for the day without question. I went and did some Christmas shopping and returned later that afternoon. The bill was only $44.74. Everyone was polite. The owner of the dealership happened to be in the garage when I picked up my truck and he personally thanked me for my business and asked me if I was happy with the service.

I honestly couldn’t be more pleased.

I hate snow


The last time I remember liking snow was when I was about 12 years old. It was on the farm where I grew up. Me and my oldest brother Mick got sent out to do the shoveling and clearing. I don’t remember the logistics of it, but Mick’s snow gear must have already been wet or somehow unavailable so he put on my mom’s brand new snow suit and out we went.

Well it doesn’t take two youngsters too long to start heaving snow balls and having fun. Next thing I knew Mick was laying in the driveway wiggling all around doing the “worm” and Mom was just livid and hollering at him because he was doing it in her brand new snow suit.

The louder she yelled the more we laughed.

That was a great memory but ever since then I think the snow has been a pain in my arse. Shoveling, plowing, clearing off the truck, busting the ice so the animals can drink. I hate everything about it.

It usually takes me 40 minutes to get home from work. Tonight it was an hour and a half.

I want it to be 75 degrees and windy so I can go sailing.

Captain Mike Smith’s 50th Birthday

Mike and Ann are good friends of mine that I met up at camp. Mike is a retired air force man. I don’t think he was a captain in the military. He got the “Captain” rank from boating. We affectionately call everyone who owns and operates their own boat “Captain”, and that’s just the way it is.

Anyway, Mike turned 50 yesterday and had a party. He lives about 45 minutes away from me, so the drive was painless. I don’t get to see my campground friends much in the fall and winter so this was a real treat. A bunch of the guys and gals were there that I hadn’t seen since the end of the season.

Mike has a big beautiful house in the country that he built himself. He’s a perfectionist and his house shows it. It was meticulously built and is meticulously maintained. Ann did a wonderful job of decorating it in an old country style and as beautiful as the house is, we spent most of the night hanging out around the campfire that Mike built in the front yard. I’m not sure why it worked out that way. There was plenty of room inside. The kitchen was filled with food and there was a nice fire crackling in the fireplace. It just seems more natural for us to be outside standing around an open fire with a beer in our hand.

Harry bought mike the classic 50th birthday gift. It was a walker with cigar and beer holders, and other accessories like a horn, a basket and a license plate on the front that said LUV2DRINK. It was great.

It was a great night. I’m thankful to have such good friends.

Happy birthday Mike.

The Promise Land

I rent a seasonal campsite every year from April 15th to October 15th. It’s at the Sunbury Airport on Packer’s Island. Packer’s Island lies between the city of Sunbury and the borough of Northumberland at the confluence of the two branches of the Susquehanna river. The Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam is located just below this confluence and that dam creates 3000 acre lake called Lake Augusta, and that’s where I do the lion’s share of my boating.

There are better lakes for sailing but this is where I hang my hat. The campground allows us to put our own docks in and there really aren’t any campground rules or regulations other than…

  • Use Common Sense
  • Be respectful of your neighbors

I have a lot of friends there. While we are all from different walks of life, we all have a common love of boating, and the river in general. Every weekend is a party and we can be found out on our boats during the day and campfire hopping during the night. Beer consumption is a favorite pastime there, and can be done pretty much 24×7 if your game.

We call it camping. Real campers would not call us campers. We all have RV’s with all the comforts of home including refrigerators, ovens, mocrowaves, satellite tv, air conditioning and such. Our idea of roughing it is when we run out of beer, which doesn’t happen very often.


Snark Sunflower

I’ve been boating pretty much all of my life in one way or another. In my 20’s and 30’s I was an avid kayaker and would hit all the white water I could. When I turned 40 I bought a pontoon boat and started a hot dog and sno cone concession on the Susquehanna river, and that’s how I got into power boating. I started thinking about sailing in the summer of 2007 and was intrigued by how one could sail with the power of the wind. Even against the wind.

I bought a few books and read them and then finally made the decision to buy a starter sailboat. I bought a Snark Sunflower on Ebay. What great fun! (as long as there’s wind)


That’s what started my addiction to sailing. I sailed it all summer and had a blast. I made another sailing decision at the end of that season and that was that sailing was for me. That winter I bought a Com-Pac 16.

The Snark is gone now and I’ll tell you about that in another post, but the Snark is what got me started and that’s when I learned…..Never under estimate the power of a Snark!