Thursday, June 30, 2005

I hate waiting in &^%$#@ traffic.

Some people who read this steaming pile of refuse have probably seen this before; back before I was blogging I occasionally sent out what I referred to as "The Rant of the Week". It was a one or two paragraph of whatever that
had pissed me off that particular day... Sitting next to the bathroom on an airliner for 3 hours, incompetent waiters, Yankees, Southerners, Foreigners, Democrats, bueraucrats, technocrats, doormats, brickbats and muskrats. They all drive me nutz...
A while back I was irritated by the behavior of some drivers during
afternoon rush hour traffic... and yesterday it happened again, so I thought
I'd resurrect the text from the rant-of-the-week, dust it off and share it
with y'all. Again.


Uncle Jay's Rant of the Week-

Y’know what really pisses me off…
It’s people who are making themselves feel good at my expense.
You people know who you are.
You are the do-gooders that stop and let a car or five that is waiting to
enter the stream of traffic in, holding up that long string behind you.

Guess what? If you idiots didn'’t do it, that long line of traffic would move a hell of a lot faster, and there probably wouldn’'t be a traffic tie-up.
Then those folks could get out of their parking lot or side street just fine.

But no, Miss Goodie-two-shoes thinks to herself, I'’ll just motion two or
three cars out of that parking lot, holding up the twenty people behind me.
It gives me a warm and happy feeling.
Honey- If we were standing in line at a bank and you did that, you’'d get to hold your teeth in your pocket during the trip to the emergency room. God help you if pull that crap while waiting to go on a ride at Disney World.
What makes you think you can get away with the crap on the highway?

And the ones that really make me wish for some changes in the laws concerning the possession and utilization of handguns in motor vehicles, the yahoos that hold up traffic for folks wanting to make the turn across the lane and head the other direction. They hold up traffic until a break coming the other way. Meanwhile, we could’'ve all gone through the traffic light by now, on our way to a happy and productive life. Instead, this happy asshole has held up all of us, missing the cycle of traffic lights. He feels better, doing his part for the planet. In the eight cars stacked up behind him, people are visualizing how he would look as the centerpiece of a funeral service.
Preferably closed-casket.

Drive the car, Jerkwad.

TBG out-

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

7 Deadly Sins

Let me check for just a second...

Greed... Yep.
Envy... Oh yeah.
Lust... Do you have to ask?
Gluttony... Again... It goes without saying.
Sloth... Wake me when the questions are over...
Pride... Uh huh. Just call me Figjam.
Wrath... So very and completely yes...

Ok... Got 'em all covered.

TBG out-

Correction- Dell Bug is a Hoax!

After a little more investigation, it seems that the Dell keyboard keylogger
device is a hoax.

Dell Bug/Keylogger

By the way- if you ever have questions about anything that you might suspect
might be an urban legend or hoax, I highly suggest you visit

These people have the low-down on everything and everyone...

Check it out!

Sorry about the false alarm...

TBG out-

Monday, June 27, 2005

Miscellaneous Stuff for this week...

Hi Kids... I have a couple things speak about today; nothing Earth-shattering, but a couple things that are interesting...

First, (and most distressing), the absolute BEST restaurant in New Orleans may be closed/closing. Uglesich's Restraurant, which has been around since 1924 is currently closed for the summer. This is normal, but there have been several articles written earlier this year that have alluded to the permanent closing of this fine establishment.
Pete Oliver introduced me to this little slice of heaven years ago...

Uglesich's is/was located at the corner of Erato & Barrone... Not exactly
what you would call a nice area of town...
As a matter of fact, when we (TWWKMT and I) went there about 11 years ago, we jumped a taxi at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. I told the driver that we wanted to go to Uglesich's... He had no idea what I was talking about. It told him never mind... I want to go to the corner of Erato and Baronne...
"Hey Man... you don' wanna go dere... That ain't no tourist place..." he says.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Dat dere is de' Projects. It ain't safe... Even for a big guy like you. And I cain't believe you takin' your lady there."
"Look... Just take us there. It's cool."
"Well... You de boss. But I'm tellin' you, you gonna want me to take you to someplace else when we get dere."
We went anyway... At that time it wasn't quite so well known. There was no line stretching down the block like there has been in the last 6 or 7 years.
We left the taxi and the driver watched us as we went in the tiny restaurant, shaking his head, sure we were going to be killed, skinned & roasted for dinner...
We spent nearly 2 hours there, sampling the amazing food that Mr. Anthony and his wonderful spouse Gail make. We had the Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp and Remoulade, we had Angry Shrimp, we tasted the oyster shooter, and had a shrimp po-boy. The Bar-B-Que oysters and other specialties were all amazing. We washed it all down with tall cold bottles of Chimay beer... Ambrosia!

Mr. Anthony is a prince among men. He tolerated us (Pete, Carl, Elton, Tom & myself) during a drunken trip to LSU for a football game once- An occasion where we roared into the restaurant and terrorized the patrons and scared the tar out of Gail as we tried to order everything on the menu. We had been drinking for hours when we decided we were hungry and headed to the Restaurant. To make a very long, ugly story short- a $300 dollar lunch that went half uneaten because of a simulated bar fight that showered broken glass over all our food; Carl's forehead was sliced open, and Pete nearly fell into the urinal in the bathroom then went outside to perform the vaunted Helicopter Vomit, a triple-snap-in-Z-formation performance if there was ever was one. And to cap it all off... it was all caught on videotape.
Ain't nothing like seeing yourself at your absolute worst... Good times,
good times.

It's not definite yet; Mr. Anthony has not said that this is the end, although he has been saying he wants to retire from the strenuous grind he and Gail have been under... He has alluded to the fact then he would like to open with a much smaller operation... Maybe a more limited menu, just appetizers and finger food... Only time will tell.
Let's hope that come fall we will see the little place on the corner of Erato and Barrone open it's doors again and we'll see Mr. Anthony, rested and refreshed, once again serving those little slices of heaven from his kitchen.


I have recently been introduced to a new puzzle rage... Sudoku.

Check it out here
... If you are a crossword fan looking for a challenge, or a cryptographer looking to refine your number theory, you need to check out Sudoku...


I'm a little concerned about this... Dell keylogger. Why has the Department of Homeland Security installed a keylogger in your laptop?


Does anyone have a 41' Morgan Out Islander for sale at a reasonable price out there? Let me know.


All right kids... Get to work. TBG out-

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Blues

What is wrong with snot-nosed, left wing, left coast, pinko-commie Californians?
You can beat them over the head with the truth and they will still expound
(at length, and with gusto) their misguided and ingorant position on a
particular subject without any thought that they might be mistaken.

To wit: The Idiot at Fry's Electronics in Anaheim...

On the overhead music in the store someone had put on a blues album...
Really excellent, I might add.
Some instrumental blues- great slide guitar... real tasty stuff. Well... I'm standing in the hardware section looking at various crap (of which they have TONS at Frys) and I hear this idiot comment on the music overhead and how he just loves the blues... Can't get enough of it, etc.
A song comes on that I just happen to know (odd 'cause I don't have a real
deep knowledge of blues, but I do know this one...)- John Mayall's "Catch that Train" which has an awsome harmonica riff at the beginning that starts like a train leaving the station then segues into a fast harp shuffle.
Idjit boy starts to say how John PRINE is the penultimate blues musician of the last 20 years and this tune is a signature piece of Prine's.
Now, I'm not one to correct someone, but as he was expounding for another person's edification, I felt that he needed to at least give accurate information about the subject. I thought he had just gotten the last name wrong (which he had) and would do the old head-slap and say "that's right, John Mayall..." but in retrospect I should have just shut up because this loser was a nightmare with a short fuse...
"Um..." I said, sotto voce "I think you mean John Mayall. John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers. From England."
BluesBoy looked at me like I had just slapped his grandmother.
"Excuse me, sir"...he said, voice dripping with sarcasm and ridicule "That is John Prine. I KNOW my blues! And no Englishman can ever hope to play the blues... It is a physical impossibility!" I never said another word as this bonehead went on a 5 minute tirade about the qualifications to sing the blues and how it was purely an American strain of music, and that no one outside the Mississippi Valley could possibly have the genetic makeup to play The Blues.
The guy he was talking to at one point rolled his eyes back into his head when the Blues Expert wasn't looking, and I nearly blew a blood vessel trying not to laugh out loud.

Don't get me wrong- There are specific qualifications for singing the Blues-
but it has nothing to do with geography. Mayall, Clapton and the boys from England in the late 60's did some awesome stuff...
Women will do you wrong in Paris or Australia, just as they do down in New Orleans...
But it is kind of hard to riff about hard times on the Champs-Elysées or how bad you feel 'cause a truck ran over your wallaby.

My cell phone rang during his oratory, and I politely moved off to take my call in peace...
Upon checkout, they had a display of music CDs for sale, including one the one that was playing... and it was Mayall's "Catch that Train"... and there wasn't anything by John Prine on the CD at all... I really wanted to take the disc and find the jerk and just hand it to him and walk away... but alas, I just left the store with a nasty little smirk on my face... I was right. For once.

(It happens so infrequently that I am very amused when it occurs.)

It might be interesting to discuss the some of the rules for Singing the

1. Most blues begin "woke up this morning."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick
something nasty in the next line:
I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.

3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of:
Got a good woman
with the meanest dog in town.
He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
and he weighs about 500 pounds.

4. The blues are not about limitless choice.

5. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

8. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
a. violet
b. beige
c. mauve
d. teal

9. You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall; the lighting is wrong.

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. the highway
b. the jailhouse
c. the empty bed

Bad places:
a. Ashrams
b. Gallery openings
c. weekend in the Hamptons

11. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

12. Do you have the right to sing the blues?
Yes, if:
a. your first name is a southern state like Georgia
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis.
d. you can't be satisfied.

No, if:
a. you were once blind but now can see.
b. you're deaf
c. you have a trust fund.

13. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues.

14. If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Other blues beverages are:
a. wine
b. Irish whiskey
c. muddy water

Blues beverages are NOT:
a. Any mixed drink
b. Any wine kosher for Passover
c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room.

It is not a blues death, if you die during a liposuction treatment.

16. Some Blues names for Women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie

17. Some Blues Names for Men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Lightning

Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

18. Other Blues Names (Starter Kit):
a. Name of Physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
b. First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
c. Last Name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
Mix and Match

TBG (Tuberculosis Boysenberry Garfield) out-

Misc BS...

Recognize the psychos....

I got 9 out of 10... It takes one to know one... Heh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A blast from the past...

I used to read this little jewel back when it was originally
serialized in Heavy Metal magazine back in the late 70's...

The detailed line art is amazing...

Some among us would consider this
Not Safe For Work... You have been warned.

Something new I've been listening to...

Hi y'all-

I have recently had the pleasure of acquiring a satellite radio.
Wow. That is all I can say. Wow.

I got it just before I went on a cross country trip... Jax to LA and back.
From previous experience, I was looking for an alternative to chasing radio stations or carrying a stack of CDs or MP3s. I picked up an Audiovox portable unit and hit the road. I set up the service via phone as I got on the road... I got it set up in about 10 minutes. Activation was a snap. (Portable is relative. It is not a Walkman-style unit, it is portable in that you can move it easily from auto to auto. The walkman style is considerable more expensive. Evaluate your needs and make your own choices.)

I got service with XM Radio, but there is also Sirius... You need to do some research to see which one will give your favorite features, but with some notable exceptions they are very similar. There are channels for every imaginable music taste. Swing, 70s, 80s, 90s, Pop, Reggae, World Beat, Urban, Jazz... the list goes on. They also have tons of talk, sports, entertainment, and other non-music selections.
Sirius has exclusives on Howard Stern and Jimmy Buffett's Radio Margaritaville for instance, and XM has Opie & Anthony and all Major League Baseball games. Check out their websites to see all the features.
They are not fettered by alot of the FCC regulations, so quite a few of the channels are uncensored... Some of the urban music channels, the comedy channels and of course Stern and O&A have some pretty raw language. Now, they also have some more family friendly versions of the uncensored channels, but not for the headliners, so watch out if you want to listen to the Shock Jocks with the kids in the car...
For me. I spend a lot of time listening to the uncensored comedy channel, 70s and 80s music channels, Sonic Theater, and the Audio Classics- the old radio classics like The Shadow, Twilight Zone and The Lone Ranger. Cool Stuff.
When Hunter gets in the car she flips to the Top 20 channel, Soundtrax, and On Broadway. There is something for everyone...
After listening for a couple months, I have seen the end of broadcast radio...
Even though there is some commercial content, it is nothing compared to the 25 or more minutes of commercials you get with every hour of morning drive time on regular radio...

Check out satellite radio. You will love it.

TBG out-

International Rules For Men.

(Stolen from a post by somebody, somewhere...)

  1. Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella, unless at the footy, and your pies are getting wet, then for the eating period only it is permissible.
  2. It is ok for a man to cry under the following circumstances:
    1. When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
    2. The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.
    3. After wrecking your boss' car.
    4. One hour, 12 minutes, 37 seconds into "The Crying Game".
    5. When she is using her teeth.
  3. Any Man who brings a camera to a stag night may be legally killed and eaten by his mates.
  4. Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.
  5. If you've known a bloke for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever, unless you actually marry her.
  6. Moaning about the brand of free beer in a mate's fridge is forbidden. However, complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
  7. No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering your mate's birthday is strictly optional.
  8. On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
  9. When stumbling upon other blokes watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.
  10. You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your girlfriend.
  11. It is permissible to quaff a fruity alcopop drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach... and it's delivered by a topless supermodel... and it's free.
  12. Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another bloke in the nuts.
  13. Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.
  14. Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
  15. If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see anything.
  16. Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game (can explain offside or LBW) and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
  17. A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
  18. Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.
  19. If you compliment a bloke on his six-pack, you'd better be talking about his choice of beer.
  20. Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a mate of yours except if she's withholding s*x pending your response.
  21. Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while lifting weights:
    1. Yeah, Baby, Push it!
    2. C'mon, give me one more! Harder!
    3. Another set and we can hit the showers!
  22. Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing: i.e. both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
  23. Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.
  24. The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a friend" have had drunken s*x, the fact that you're feeling weird and guilty is no reason for you not to nail each other again before the discussion about what a big mistake it was occurs.
  25. It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable for her to drive yours.
  26. Thou shalt not buy a car in the colours of brown, pink, lime green, orange or sky blue.
  27. The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "If you loved me,you'd know what I want!" gets an Xbox. End of story.
  28. There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men's Gymnastics. Ever

Monday, June 20, 2005

I made it, but man....

...this time the problem wasn't the TSA, it was other passengers.
On the first flight, I didn't have booked seats, so I wound up in the back of the plane...
Thanks April...

So, it seems like the entire plane is filled with the congregations of several AME churches from downtown Jacksonville... Older black folks who don't travel too often, and have no idea how to pack, what to carry on, etc.
I spent the entire time on the plane being the personal butler for all the old ladies around me...
"Baby, could you help me put my bag away... I can't lift it." she says, indicating a 200 lb bag that has absolutely NO chance of fitting in the overhead bin.
"Would you be a darlin' and help me get my bag down, I needs to get my medicine. Thank you baby."
These folks were nice as the day is long, but man... I've had enough big butts waved in my face today... Add to that their propensity for wearing WAAAAY too much bad perfume...
Oh. My. God.

The second leg of the flight... Houston to Ontario...
I had an Indian couple and thier screaming child sitting next to me. I want to be fair about it... The child didn't scream the entire time, there was a good hour that the child only yelled at the top of it's lungs... I think I'm deaf in my left ear now.
Made me wish for a roll of duct tape. I swear, if I had some I'd have used it.
No lie.

So... I'm in the OC... Big fat hairy deal.

Film at 11.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Once more. into the breach...

So I'm off to LA in th AM. I love going to LA. NOT.

Don't get me wrong... LA is nice, and some of the people out there are wonderful, but I hate GOING there.
It is dealing with the airports, airlines, and sitting for several hours in a seat with very little leg room that just kills me.

First- lets deal with Airport Math.

Flight is at 7:20AM
They want you there 1 hour before the flight, so I need to arrive at the airport by 6:20.
Now, on the average, it takes me 15 minutes to park my car and get the shuttle to the terminal, so that means I have to arrive at the parking lot by 6:05.
Ok... (This is getting ugly.)

So... it is 26.5 miles to JIA from the Humble Abode... It takes about 40 minutes on average. Early morning is a little less, but we can't count on it, so... I have to LEAVE the house by 5:25. AM.

Alrighty then. If I set the clock for 5:00AM, and don't hit snooze, I hit the shower, dress and throw my stuff in Physalia, I should be OK.

No margin for error, though.

I'll set the clock for 4:45.
I hope I can sleep on the plane...

Second- The TSA.

Idiots. Every one of them.
I swear to God.
They wouldn't know a weapon if it jumped up out of a bag and bit them on the nose.
And the whole concept of improvised weapons is lost on the people at Homeland Security. The circus that is the mag and bag at 99% of the airports in the US is an unbelievable joke.
Thrown in a bearded lady, and organ grinder and his monkey and a couple spotlights, and you could take that show on the road... Quite a few of the TSA personnel can pass as the animals (elephants, camels, sloths, etc) and the rest can all tumble out of a small car wearing face paint and their uniforms. They are a bunch of clowns.
Don't agree with me? That's fine. It MY OPINION, and you are entitled to yours.
The fact that there are so many levels of "inspection" at the airport is a big indicator that the entire system doesn't work...
Look, it you have to subject "random" people to more intense scrutiny, that is a tacit affirmation that the mag and bag doesn't work. And if it doesn't work, then why do it? Just accept it and pat everyone down if that is what it takes. But don't blow smoke up my ass and tell me that the all-powerful xray machine and metal detector are going to adequately safeguard the air traveling public, but let's choose random people to be checked a little better...
And the process of printing a "SSS" on the ticket of someone who purchased their ticket in the last 24 hours...
I hate to tell you, Dept of Homeland Security... You have to hide your procedures better than that...The second you implement a visual cue on the tickets, then issue a memo to all and sundry, the Bad Guys know about it and can make plans to thwart it...
And the shoe thing... Give me a break, please.
Yeah... someone getting on a plane wearing a business suit and 4-inch clogs, yeah... better check it.
But when I go through security wearing flip flops, but you STILL make me take them off and run them through the xray? Please. Get a clue.

Hey. Homeland Security... Take a handful of twentys from the piles of money that your are stealing from other more deserving government programs and go BUY YOURSELF A CLUE!!!

So... I'm off to LA. Corona, actually.

Wish me luck at the airport.

TBG out.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Back to the Real World

Wednesday was hecitc...

We finished up orientation with the Donnelly's... the new Garden Key Host couple. Nice folks...
We got an early start, meeting to show them the morning routines on the island, cleanup, maintenance, etc. We all took a break at 9:00am to get cleaned up before the ferries arrived- then met back on the dock for the arrival of Sunny Days and the Yankee Freedom.
We had campers, so I got to do my last orientation spiel- "Don't hang stuff in the trees, stay out of the moat, keep you nose clean, and keep your hands to yourself."
I still had to get all my pictures to Mike Ryan, repack bags, get a shower, get Hunter organized, and get all our stuff to the boat... Egads, what a nightmare.
Right in the middle of all this, I had to help Brion get the Whaler and the Mako situated on the beach; I took the forklift and used it to move the boats, then position it for offloading the gasoline tanks that the Coast Guard would be delivering after the Ferries departed....
Well... We made it to the boat in time to leave the Tortugas. We were a little bummed, but ready to get back to the real world...
It was a bit rushed, but I think we did get everything handled ok.
Everyone was down on the dock to see us off; Mike, Niki, Willie & Brion...
Trep and Danica were at Everglades doing range time and would be back on Thursday, so we'll see them next time.
The boat ride was uneventful, thank Ghod. And I got a ride (Thx Ross Hunter!) over to the Coast Guard base to pick up Physalia, so that was a winning situation... it would have been a long hot walk...
We hit the Meteor Smokehouse on Southard St for dinner, then hauled ass for Jax.
I had to pull over for naps twice, and hit Jax Beach at 5:30am...

No sleep yet... If I go to sleep now, I will be awake all night and get out of phase, so I'll tough it out through the day and really sleep well tonight.

I'm in the office today, detailing for my trip to LA on Monday...
Polly just delivered the Duets for the test at Screenworks, so we are ready to go!

I'm outta here... Chinese for dinner tonight!

TBG out-

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Holy Crap!

Geez- What an insane couple days!!
What is today... Tuesday? Wow. I has just been crazy out here...

It was back to business as usual here on Sunday and Monday... Weather was beautiful. Nice warm breeze out of the south. It was very nice. Sunday was very non-eventful... One couple camping, and that was it. The harbor was starting to fill up again, but the folks on the sailboats and cruisers are usually pretty low-maintenance.
No issues to speak of really.
On Monday we were working on vacating our quarters to make room for the next set of volunteers that are coming to take over from us. We packed all out stuff and cleaned up the joint and moved down to another "apartment" across the fort. A much nicer place, except that it leaked badly from the storm...
It had been cleaned up, but there was a lot of mold on the ceiling tiles in the living room.
No big deal to us, though.

I mowed most of the parade ground at the end of the day on Monday... The parade ground is the area inside the fort walls. It is the equivalent of 16 football fields. That is a $#|+load of mowing... I finished 80% on Monday afternoon. We have a bitchin' mower... The thing will do about 40MPH...

Anway- I knocked off just before sundown... I was a tired camper.
Trep and Brion asked if we would help move a couple chugs in the morning, and help get the Mako and the Whaler on trailers before we got going on our regular chores... We arranged to meet at 6:30- We needed to use a forklift and tractor to move the boats-

Well... We got the old chugs (including the one we got on the 7th) re-arranged on the chugpile, got the trailers freed up so we could use them for the real boats, and as we were getting ready to pull them out, here comes another chug steaming through the harbor!
13 more Cubans, 6 men, 4 women and 3 kids! Trep ran to put his gear on (Kevlar, sidearm, shotgun, etc) and Brion and I went out to settle the migrants as they arrived on Bush Key...
They cheered as the chug hit the beach- the all got out of the boat as we arrived...
They were very cool once we told them the had made it to the US... Lots of smiles.
Willie and Trep arrived, did a quick weapons search, and they marched them off Bush Key and into the fort, got them settled into one of the rooms and let them shower and cleanup a little as they were covered in disel fuel.

Brion and I dealt with the new chug- got it off the island, on the trailer, out of the water and over to the chugpile and back off the trailer in 20 minutes. We got the Mako on the trailer and up out of the water so we could look into the damage to the engine from the storm. It's not a pretty sight.

The ferries arrived at 10:30- about 10 new masons from El Morro in San Juan arrived, and also the new volunteers. They are also from Jacksonville Beach... Real nice folks-

The Coast Guard showed up at 12:00 to pick up the Cubans- The rangers marched them out to the CG tender, one of the kids led the parade- She was a tiny thing- maybe 6 or 7 years old... Made a nice photo op for the visitors. (I was on crowd control, so I had no opportunity to take pics, but I did get a couple shots as they were loaded in the CG tender.

Let's see... What else- I gave the new volunteers some orientation- got them pointed the right way.
Finished up the mowing...
Gotta repack, get ready to leave tomorrow...
Man, what a day.

Oh yeah- in the Cuban Migrant pool- Whoever had 13 on the 14th wins this weeks pool.

TBG out-

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Imperfect Storm

Hi Kids-

Well... We survived Arlene... It wasn't pretty.

I headed out at dawn yesterday to start checking things- I went to check on the boats, the grounds, the dock- everything was ok early in the day. Later, not so good.
The brunt of the storm wasn't until later- Things probably were the worst around 11:00 AM...
Around 10:00 the seas in the harbor were 3-5 feet. The patrol boats and the research boats were taking a beating. The wind was coming directly out of the south-southeast, straight onto the dock, so the boats were pointing right into the wind and waves. Add to it a storm surge and a very high tide, and you have a recipe for sunken boats. We were able to get the boats pumped out later in the evening and got the engines started up, so we had no permanant damage to the boats...

We had the Coast Guard call us around 10 pm Thursday night, reporting a de-masted sailboat 9 miles southwest of Loggerhead Key; They were rescued later (around 2:30 AM)... We also had several boats in the harbor drag anchor and then had problems getting hooked back up. In addition, we had the Coast Guard calling to find several boats that were overdue to Key West... Some were here in the harbor or on the west side of the island, and some weren't here...
We had a bunch of cosmetic damage- branches down, stuff blown around, closure signs missing, damage to the displays on the dock, etc... We also had 3 of the pencil bouys that mark the closed area off Bush Key wash up here on Garden Key. Hunter and I took care of most of the debris around the island this (Saturday) morning. We took 5 loads of branches, palm fronds and other flotsam and jetsam up to the burn pile and off to the recycling bins. We had a full morning starting at 6:30am...

(Why were we up at 6:30 this morning after a very long day yesterday, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you... At about 5:30 we had a termite swarm in our quarters... This place is alive with termites- everyone's quarters has 'em... that's why no one brings their own furniture out here. Everything made of wood is eventually infested. And to add to the fun, every couple weeks in the summer a group will strike out and look for new wood... So this morning we had a swarm in our room... Did Hunter freak out? Yep, you know it.)

Let's see, what else... Over on Loggerhead the took some damage to the water intakes for the RO water system... the waves over there were huge- they were crashing over the dock... It was pretty bad over there.

From the "Things that make you go Hmmmm" Department: There were 6 chugs, boats from Cuban migrants, on the beaches over at Loggerhead before the storm... Now there are 7. Hmmm... The volunteers haven't said anything about any emaciated latinos coming to the door and trying to surrender...

If you want to see the pictures- look here:
DRTO June at
It will give you an idea of when we dealt with yesterday...

TBG out...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

We cannot catch a break...

Here comes Arlene...

Right now she has 40MPH winds, and is heading due north.
We're closing the campground, suggesting the recreational boaters head beck to Key West, and generally trying to get ready for the storm.

So... We will probably lose phones and satellite connections this afternoon...
So don't expect updates until Saturday or Sunday...

Welcome to the not-so-Dry Tortugas....

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Finally! June has arrived!

First things first-

In the Cuban migrant pool, whoever had 10 migrants arriving on June 7th is the winner for this week. (Tiebreaker - Brown chug-chug, 8:20am, Garden Key)

The weather has finally cleared for the last couple days... 10 knot winds out of the south... Fairly clear skies. And hot hot hot.

Lots of work out here... We have a environmental safety audit going on... A team of inspectors are here to look at the OSHA compliance and to see if all the different safety procedures and equipment is on-hand.
In the last few days leading up to it, we have been checking fire-extinguishers, MSDS manuals, smoke detectors, and general safety conditions around the fort.
What fun.

Let's see... I have another thing I'll need to write up later, but I can tell you it involves a run-in with one of the US Customs/ICE teams that came out here un-announced. More on that later.

Hmmm... What else? Oh yeah... Hunter and I actually got a chance to swim yesterday! We knocked off around 3:00 yesterday and hit the south beach for an hour or so... It was very nice. We sat in the water and got a chance for a nice father-daughter chat about how things have been going so far...
Really nice.

Ok... There are bathrooms out there that aren't going to clean themselves...

TBG out-

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Sun

Oh. My. God.
The sun has finally returned today...
I haven't seen the sun since I left Jacksonville. It has been overcast and rainy since we arrived, so I was shocked and amazed to see the big ball of fire in the sky this am.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Happy Birthday to me...

Happy birthday to me...
Happy birthday to me...
Happy birthday dear Big Guy...
Happy birthday to youuuuuu!
And you smell like one too!

Yeah, yeah...

So the staff on The Island all got together
tonite (all 8 of us) and we had a little shindig...
Cliff and Patti grilled tenderloins on the BBQ,
Niki brought Cheez-its, we brought a round of brie,
Danica brought some shrimp, Brion and Willie
were on hand for comic relief... We had a big dinner
and there was cake and ice cream!
Hoo Ha!

Nice way to celebrate 43 years...
Just another trip around the sun.
Thanks, y'all.

Stormy Weather

I am getting so tired of crappy weather.

This is really starting to suck... We have been here for 4 days now and I have not yet seen the sun. It is really getting on my nerves...

Seems like every day at 10:00 we have a storm roll through, just in time for the visitors to get off the boat and make witty quips like "Gee, I thought this was the DRY Tortugas."...

They are going to push me too far one day... then... Watch Out!

What else...
Oh yeah...
For y'all who are keeping a count on Cuban migrants this trip... Whoever had 11 migrants on June 4th wins this week's pool. Congrats.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


The weather is still crappy out here...
I feel sorry for the people going back on the Yankee and Sunny Days. It will be a rough crossing back to KW.
The capmground is pretty full, and we have 6 sailboats in the harbor right now. More boats coming in later. I'm sure.

Ok... More later tonight.


Riding the Vomit Comet

The last couple days have been a blur.
I spent Tuesday trying to finish the last minute details (NBA Finals, Shanghai details, etc) and packed the car, then tried to get some sleep.
The Honda Element (Physalia) will hold a lot of stuff... We had it loaded to the gunwales...
I was able to sleep for 3 and a half hours...
We were on the road at 9:30PM. I kept getting the coffee (bad) at the all-night gas-food-lottery stations along I-95. Really gave my kidneys a workout.
We didn't break any world speed records on the way down, kept it about 8mph over the limit.

We hit Key West at 5:15am - No delays in Miami or in the Keys.

We made a commando raid on the WinnDixie on N. Roosevelt in KW to pick up perishables: meats, milk, fruit, etc. Got to the dock by 6:30 and loaded our equipment up on the Yankee Freedom. Brad is Captain today- Buddy 1st, the fair Leanne is also on hand with Mike and Jack (ugh) as crew.

Wind is blowing 15 to 20- and there was a squall line between KW and DRTO... Bad.
Wind picked up to 35 knots as we passed through the storm, and the waves were coming out of the south, hitting us directly from the port side of the boat, really rocking the Fast Cat.
Do I have to tell you how sick most of the people on the boat were?
It was a very somber ride, and the crew could have made a fortune if they had charged a quarter for the motion sickness bags...
Listen to your Uncle Jay: Dramamine and Bonine and the other motion sickness medicines take 45 minutes to get into your bloodstream and begin to work. Take it before you get on the boat.

So... We made it. The island got hit by the same storm earlier in the morning. Campground was hit fairly hard... The classic problem... it was too nice to put up the rain fly when they put up the tent originally. So as the storm came across the island at 6:00AM, the rain poured in through the top of their tents. One tent was completely collapsed, they had gone out in their boat at about 5:00am- When they got in at 5:30 last night, they were in for a rude awakening... and of course, their stuff had 12 hours to sit and soak in the water. They were unhappy campers...

All was well last night- breezy, warm. Still a threat of rain, and it is a little overcast this morning.

I have to go clean bathrooms. Oh goodie.