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Monday, August 31, 2009

Flea Market Fun!

One of the fantastic places to take your family for fun is the flea market. Yesterday we found an old school flea market, with people peddling their home wares. Not only is there a ton of fun people watching opportunities, but the buys on things are incredible.... DVDs for a dollar, used tools for a few bucks, and corn dogs for a dollar to boot! Many flea markets also have a section with fruits and vegetables for sale, and we did spy some outstanding tomatoes. So, plan for a day at a local flea market and enjoy the show!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Automatic Goal Achievement

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed something .... I don't focus on the sailing goal anymore. Does this mean that I'm not interested in doing the trip? No, not at all. In fact, every time the topic comes to mind a smile comes to my face.

What I've noticed, however, is that all the actions we take to make it happen have become so automatic that we don't think about it anymore. The saving of money, the focus on self sufficiency, the disposal of items that we can't take, and so much more have become automatic.

After nearly 2 years, all of our set up to go actions have become part and parcel to how we live. Now obtaining the goal is easier than ever.... we don't even think about it, it just happens. The coffers are filling, our skills are growing, and stuff is disappearing.

This is a key transition for us. Automatic things automatically happen. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hydrate your way to health and weatlh

With the Ironman entry complete, it is time to begin the process of training. My training plan is 40 weeks long and 1 of the key components is hydration. Why is this relevant here? Well, proper hydration results in optimal physical performance AND costs less than drinking soda.

Here is an interesting rule of thumb used by elite athletes: for every 1% of under full hydration your body is, the resulting loss in physical performance is 2%! Put another way, for all the hours you exist and you are under hydrated by 1%, you will have to expend 2% more effort than you would if you had simply remained properly hydrated. 5% under equates to 10% more effort! More effort requires more fuel, more fuel requires more spend. Plus, more effort makes you tired sooner.

Being under hydrated also puts your immune system at risk. Water is a key component of antibody manufacture. Without them to fight off a bug, you get sick. If you get sick, that puts you behind on your goals and also puts you in a bad mental state.

Water is also cheap. The bottled water is so overrated. When we eat out, we always ask for tap water (unless we are outside the US).

Taking steps towards being fully hydrated are simple. For example, you could begin replacing your non-water beverage intake with water. If you drink 4 cans of soda, cut to 3 and replace that 4th one with the equivalent water. Another simple first step is to create a routine wherein each morning, the moment you wake up, you drink a glass of water. Viola! you've increased your water intake.

Over hydration is also a risk. Listen to your body. Do you need gallons of water? No. (unless you are racing accross a hot environment). There are plenty of formulas out there to help you gauge how much water you should be taking in. Find out how much you should be taking in and be sure you're doing it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blondes on Boats

There was a blonde driving down the road one day. She glanced to her right and noticed another blonde sitting in a nearby field, rowing a boat with no water in sight.

The blonde angrily pulled her car over and yelled at the rowing blonde, “What do you think you're doing? It's things like this that give us blondes a bad name. If I could swim, I'd come out there and kick your butt!” ;)

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Certificate of Documentation

We finally received our "Certificate of Documentation - (COD)" from the US Coast Guard!! YEAH!! Now the boat is offically ours. It might seem like I'm making a big deal out of the COD. Well, I am.

Basically, the COD is the boat's title. It is the overriding ownership papers in the United States. It's not necessary to have a boat registered with the US Coast Guard, if you stay in US waters. However, anytime that you travel into international or foreign waters it is necessary. If you don't the COD and you travel outside US waters, it's the same as traveling to a foreign country without a passport or any other type of identification. Not a situation I want to ever be in.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Should you use a boat broker?

Recently we received the final documentation from the US Coast Guard finishing off our boat purchase process. Wahoo! We never used a broker.

To recap, we found our boat on the Internet, contacted the owner, visited the boat, put down a deposit, studied the boat for issues (mechanical and title), paid off the remainder (and the seller in turn had a lien holder), processed all the paperwork, obtained insurance, transferred the boat slip, and finally received the last piece of documentation from the US Coast Guard listing us as the owners, with no liens.

We had never bought a boat before, yet we did all this without an agent. Were we foolish? From what we've been reading over the years, 33 percent of the boating community would say yes, 33 percent would say no, and 34 percent would say "it depends."

Did we get lucky because we didn't have any problems in the transaction? Would a boat broker have made a difference? I don't think so in either case. We were prepared and we studied all aspects of the transaction. Given our experience with businesses, houses, cars and the like, we found following the process quite trivial.

What value would a broker have provided? Well, they come to the table with the knowledge of the transaction process. How much time did we invest in figuring out "how" to buy a boat? Val, being generous, says she spent a total of 10 hours figuring it all out. That comes out to around $500 per hour, in our case, for money we kept in our pocket (that is, the amount of money a broker would have cost divided by 10 hours comes out to $500 per hour).

Did we just happen to have an honest seller? Maybe, but that was an active part of our buying process. When we looked at boats, if we felt the owners were not folks we could do business with, we simply walked away.

We treated the boat like a business transaction. We didn't let our emotions take over. We really liked the boat, but if we didn't like the seller and if we didn't think of it in terms of money for an asset, then we may have been better off with a broker.

Should you use a broker, as a popular boating magazine recently suggested? The bottom line is, you don't need to. We didn't. Will you have as positive experience as we did? I have no idea. Like everything else on this site, your mileage will vary because your experience, knowledge, desire, etc. are all different from ours. But we are here to tell you that a couple of complete novices in boat brokerage successfully handled the entire transaction of a liveaboard boat.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Individual Goals are critical to Family Goals

Creating a collective goal that your entire family pursues is critical to achieving big family aims. However, one risk that occurs is that the individual members lose themselves, and their individuality, by focusing too hard on the collective end state. Consequently, each member should be encouraged to pursue their own goals, as long as they do not conflict with the overall family goal.

In our family, my athletic pursuit is Ironman triathlons. To this end, I've signed up for the one in New York, July 25, 2010. Other than the costs involved in racing, the goal doesn't conflict with the overall family goal. In some ways, it could be viewed as complimentary (improving my strength in swimming for example.... swimming 2.4 miles is a long way!).

Having individual goals also lets each member see the power in setting a goal, putting together a plan, and following it. With each person's individual accomplishment, every family member is reminded of the power of goal setting making it easier to stay focused on the bigger family one.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Curtains - Phase 1 - Finding Fabric

We love to think of Ariel as our tropical home. So I decided that it was about time for her to start looking like it. My first transformation project are the curtains.

The curtains that the previous owners had were blue and functional. We wanted something with a more color. I took a trip to our local Hancock Fabric store to view their selection. Going in I looked at all of the fabrics that they had to offer, not just the outdoor fabrics. This was because the fabric was going to be on the inside and that it would have almost no wear-n-tear, since it was going to be used for curtains. While perusing their selection, I came across a great outdoor multi-color tropical stripe from the Lauren Hancock Collection an Exclusive by Waverly. I purchased 5 yards of fabric, 2 spools of heavy duty thread and 2 bottles of Liquid Stitch.

Now all I need to do is borrow my sister-in-law's sewing machine and learn how to sew!!! I really should have paid more attention to what my Mother and Grandmother tried to teach me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clean Stainless Steel for $.10

While getting the rudder cage fix, I decided it would be a good time to clean it. Beside the normal surface dirt, the stainless steel rudder cage also had rust and rusty water spots. I thought that stainless steel wasn't suppose to rust. Well, I was wrong. It can rust if it gets infected with less noble metals. The rusty water spots, I discovered were caused by trace metals in water.

So how do you clean stainless steel. There are a lot of expensive boat stainless steel cleaners. I beginning to believe that if the words boat or marine are on a product the cost automatically goes up by $10 to $15.

I decided to do a little research and discovered that I could clean the stainless steel for pennies. First, obtain regular baking soda and add a little water to make a paste. Smear the paste onto the stainless steel and let it set for a couple of minutes. Then take a piece of regular aluminium foil and scrub the stainless steel, going with the grain (if you have a grain). The rust comes off with little effort.

Works great, not only on boat stainless steel, but also on stainless steel appilances!
Below are before and after pictures.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Repairing Joy

The recent repair events have absorbed much of our boating life lately. Unlike any repairs I've ever done on my car or home or motorcycle, this experience was both pleasurable and fulfilling. Each bolt slip and knuckle crash, each drop of a nut (in the damn lake never to be retrieved from the 20 foot deep bottom), each scratching of the head trying to figure out how to pull things apart resulted in a wonderful, confidence building experience. Intellectually, I know that I must become capable of repairing this boat all by my self, under extreme conditions. It could be this knowledge that makes the whole experience, of fixing a problem, more of an experience than a task.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What is really major anyway?

Val has been sharing our recent experience with our first major issue. What is fun and interesting is that major to us would be considered quite minor and trivial to anyone who has spent any time working on boats. For us, this big first event, the major event, is quite minor to us now. :) That is definitely an experience/growth change.

This applies to so many things in life .... what is major for one person, and quite minor for another, doesn't diminish the stress it can cause. It is also interesting that experience helps one set the distinction between major and minor. We see this in our kids all the time.

What is critical and important to our kids is no less critical and important to them than the most important issue that we, as adults, face in life. So, the trick is, to recognize this when the next major event occurs and try to put it all back into perspective. Short of life threatening situations, nothing is ever really major.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Melbourne, Australia

Last week work had me traveling to Melbourne, Australia. What a beautiful, and large, country! The city of Melbourne resides on the coast and as a consequence afforded me beautiful views of the ocean and lots of boats. The country, surrounded by water, is very friendly towards boating. As I met people, the conversation inevitably went towards boating and various ocean activities. There is no doubt that when we make our journey that we will spend a good 60 days in Australia. We want to sail into Sydney harbor, put our boat up for yearly maintenance and, while that is being worked on, go buy a junker car and drive all over the country! Ayers rock, Melbourne, and so much more just has to be visited as a family. Obviously, when we are in this region of the world, we will be visiting New Zealand and we want to hit Tasmania too! Ahhh, when do we sail?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Major Fix – Rudder Cage – Phase 3 – Getting Rudder Cage Welded

If my Dad lived in town, getting the rudder cage welded would have been easy. I would have simply ask Daddy to weld it, but he lives in Northwest Alabama. So I decided to let my fingers do the walking in the yellow pages, metaphorically speaking. I googled machine shop for northern Atlanta. After calling the first 5 machine shops in my area and find out that they were no longer in business, I decided to call the local West Marine store to see if they had any recommendation. They had two, but neither of them answered their phones. I called our marina to see if they did stainless steel welding. The lady at the service shop stated that they had someone who came by once a week and who charged $90/hr with a one hour minimum, but she was not sure when he would be by. I was beginning to think that I needed to take a road trip to go see my Dad. I decided to try one more machine shop off of Buford Highway in Doraville, GA. I was in luck, Capital City Machine Shop was able and willing to fix my rudder cage. Capital City Machine Shop ( http://www.capitalcitymachine.com )is full service machine shop. They do everything from repairs to cnc milling and turning to fabrication.

I took the rudder cage over to Capital City Machine Shop where I handed off to Mr. Willis Pratt, the lead welder. Mr. Pratt took time out of his busy day to inspect the rudder cage, ask questions regarding it use, and when I needed it. We exchanged cards and he told me that he would call me once the repair was finished., this was about 1:30pm. Before 3pm, I had received a call from Mr. Pratt stating that the repair was finish and that I could pick-up the rudder cage whenever I like. So the next morning I went to pick-up the cage. Mr. Pratt did a fantastic job. Not only had he fixed the weld that I had pointed out, but he had also fixed another broken weld that I had not noticed and checked all of the remaining welds. All of this for $65.

I highly recommend Capital City Machine Shop to anyone. The staff is very nice, professional, and meticulous. http://www.capitalcitymachine.com 770.447.9545

I would like to say a special Thank You to Mr. Pratt and Ms. Charlotte!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Major Fix – Rudder Cage – Phase 2 – Removing Cage from Boat

After finding the broken weld and researching the best way to proceed, we took the plung (literally). Bill used a socket wrench to loosen the bolts and nuts on the hinges. This took some effort since one hinge under water.

First Bill tackled the 1/2”-5” stainless steel hex bolt, 2 nuts, and end nut that were underneath the water. Once he had handed the bolt and nuts to me, he disconnected the steering strut from the rudder cage. Finally, he took off the top hinge bolt and nuts and the shock cord.

Voila! The rudder cage is off and now it can be carried to a local machine shop to be fixed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Taking and Keeping Stock

Now that we have had an opportunity to enjoy Ariel, I’ve been working on an equipment inventory document. When finished, this document will make it assist in quick repairs when something fails. In conjunction with the inventory document, I’m also creating a maintenance log and manual as we figure our the power/electrical, electronic, water, and motor systems. So far the most difficult thing is trying to identify all of the equipment, the last time maintenance was performed, and what is needed in order to perform routine maintenance.

Whether you own a boat or a house, I recommend that you keep a good maintenance log and a consolidated record of all of the upgrades, equipment, manufacturer, purchase price and purchase date. When you get ready to sell, theses documents will demonstrate to the perspective buyers that the boat/house has been cared for and the added value they will get buying your boat/house over another. Even if you never intend to sell, these documents will make your life easier when something does fail.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First Major Fix – Rudder Cage - Phase 1 – Problem Identified

Recently, we went to take Ariel out for an afternoon cruise. While placing the rudder boards into the rudder cages we noticed that one of the board was kicking out. After further inspection we discovered that the bungee that holds the board in place had slipped down the rudder cage. This was just a symptom. The real problem was that a weld on the rudder cage had broken.

Our first thought was that we were going to have to have Ariel hauled out of the water so that the weld could be fix. Thankfully, there is a very active, yahoo users group for Gemini catamarans. I was able to post the problem and within 30 minutes I had an answer/solution. Paul from s/v Double Exposure hull #238 told me that all we had to do is to remove the hinge and steering strut bolts and then we could remove the cage without taking Ariel out of the water. It was as Paul had described. Thank you Paul!! Picture below shows the broken weld.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Feels Like Vacation Every Weekend!

Since purchasing Ariel 1 ½ months ago, we have been taking her out almost every weekend. Usually, we take-off early on a Friday, sail to one of our “now favorite” anchorages, spend a night or two, swim, read, enjoy nature and enjoy just being together. There’s nothing like waking up at dawn, going to a nice swim on perfectly calm water, and eating pancakes. Afterward we enjoy the sail back to our boat slip and head to the apartment.

Bill notes that he is so relaxed after the weekend that it feels like he has been on vacation for a week. I can’t wait till everyday is a vacation!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why Didn't I Pay Attention

I grew up in the Southern US. My mother and grandmother were avid food preservers and sewers. I assisted them in the garden, preserving food, and even sewing for nearly 15 years. But recently when I started to refresh my skills that I thought I had, I HAD NO CLUE. Why didn't I pay more attention to what they were teaching me. As I ponder this thought the only answers I can give are that I didn't thing that I would ever use thoses skills or that I had done them so many times that it would be like "riding a bike." Well it's not like "riding a bike."

Now I'm learning how to preserve food and sew all over again. Sadly, both my mother and grandmother are no longer living and I have lost them as a source of knowledge. Fortunantely, we live in the information age and there are tones books, youtube videos, blogs, and other online resources for me to utilize. However, I wish that I had my mother and grandmother around to discuss ideas and to hear stories about their experiences.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Heart Pounding Sailing Class!

Learning to sail was one of the most heart pounding, thrilling experience I have ever had. That’s saying a lot considering; I’ve been scuba diving all over the world, flown in aerobatic bi-plane, and been sky diving.

The heart pounding, thrilling part of the class was when I had to sail on a Close-Hauled point-of-sail. (Point-of-Sail is the direction of the wind as it relates to where it touch the boat first. Think of a boat like a clock, the bow (front) of boat is 12 and the stern (back) is 6.) When sailing a Close-Hauled you are sailing as close to the wind as possible without being into the wind or “in-iron”. With a good 7-10 knot wind and the sails trim properly; the boat speeds through the water, the tiller (which controls the rudder) becomes very heavy, you’re constantly making adjustments (using the tiller) to stays on the point-of-sail, and the boat is tipped on its side to the point that water is almost coming over the side and you think that its about to tip over. Or at least that’s what it felt like to me. Heart pounding!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No Head Toilet!

Ahhh, the toilet. What a wonderful contraption. It smartly whisks away bodily refuse with minimal fuss. But, boy o boy, when it isn't working it can be a real mess. In our modern US society, we take a well functioning toilet for granted. On a boat, however, where the stable foundations of a house are not so stable, toilets are a whole different animal.

With all the shifting, tossing, turning, twisting, and other such contortions that happen on a boat, the predictability of pressure and gravity go in the toilet. The consequence? Most marine heads are easily gummed up. When this happens, and you're at sea, it is really tough to call a plummer over. Heads are the bane of voyagers. Thier construction, to support the unique marine environment, make them prone to nasty smells and backed up lines.

In the really old days, at the front of the boat, there was an open floor and people just did their thing (since it was at the head of the boat, it became known as the head). Over time, people started to want some privicy, and to be out of the elements, which beget the bucket approach. This wasn't too much different than what was happening on land. Then, as the land seating systems improved, people wanted full on seats on boats and places to store "the stuff" until proper disposal was possible. This ushered forth full on house like toilets on a boat. Alas, a boat isn't a house (although in terms of possibilities, a boat is more like a house than a house could ever be like a boat). Hence, head problems.

With self-sufficency being paramount to us, we have decided to remove the marine head we have on the boat and replacing it with a modern-porta-potty. Before you dwell too much on the "Porta Johns" at a rock concert, you need to know that when properly maintained, these self contained units are far superior in terms of maintenance, durability, and smell than almost every marine head.

So, there you have it ... we plan on switching out the standard marine head for a trouble free porta-potty system with the most trivial of mechanics. It will become the daily job of someone on the boat to deftly dispose of "the stuff" in the proper place (at sea, it's the sea).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Learning to Sail

For three Sundays in June, I learnt to sail. My first sailing course was Basic Keelboat Certification offered by Lanier Sailing Academy, an ASA (American Sailing Association) affiliated school at Holiday Marina on Lake Lanier, GA. Going into the class I had no sailing experience; however, I love the water, love to scuba dive, and have been on boats thousands of times. I chose Lanier Sailing Academy because of its “sailing should be fun” and “no yelling” attitudes. But the guarantee is what really sold me. The academy guarantees that if you don’t pass the certification that it will provided additional instruction to you at no cost until you do pass!

The class was $585 and was well worth the price. During the three full (8 hour) days of sailing instruction, we spent 99% of the time in a 22 foot Capri and 1% in a classroom. I would highly recommend the Lanier Sailing Academy to anyone who wants to learn to sail or expand their sailing knowledge and skills.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dragging Culture With You

We are a very fortunate family to be living in the U.S.A. Our standard of living is unbelievable compared to most other parts of the world. In the US, an income of $20,000 is viewed as barely getting by, but in other parts of the world, $20,000 is a huge, enormous, living high on the hog amount affording you servants galore. What is considered the equivalent of $20,000 in such parts of the world? Around $500 per year. Yes, around $500 per year is considered a barely getting by income in some parts of the world. Where are these parts? Many are in South America, some in the Asia, and some are in Africa. So, for $500, you could be barely getting by for a year as long as what you consider barely getting by is the same as what locals consider barely getting by. What does this help us do for our trip? If we are smart about peppering our voyage with these inexpensive locations, and we are willing to immerse ourselves in the local culture, then the costs of the trip gets reduced dramatically. To do this, we must not drag our culture with us, we must embrace the culture of where ever we go.

That is, you can't drag your culuture with you

Consider that, the $20,000 standard of living in the US in some parts of the world is equivalent to $1,000.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Old School Cheap Popcorn Fun

Last week we found some old school popping corn .... the kind that was used before those hot air poppers and way before microwaves. It was the type that sits in a pan that you put right on the stove. As the elements heat up, the popcorn begins to pop and a giant aluminum foil ball begins to form. We decided to pick a few of them up ... they were JiffyPop brand and being sold in packets of 2 for $1. With our magic popcorn in hand, we began the family build up. The kids had never seen this type of wizardry ... they had only known popcorn from the microwave. With the appropriate fanfare built up, the main event took place. We didn't tell them what was inside ... we just told them to watch and listen. First a single pop, and a quizzical look graced both girls faces. Then some more pops, and a tiny bit of steam started to blow out the top. Like a glacier falling, there was then an avalanche of pops!! The magic aluminium ball continued to grow without bound ... KJ wondered how big it would get. With the last few pops, the smell gave it away and KJ yelled, "POPCORN!" Ahhh yeah, old school charm and fun. It was old school popcorn ... and at 50 cents it was great entertainment. We then settled down and watched a movie from Redbox (pushing our total for the 2.25 hours of entertainment to $1.50). It was a perfect night.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Generic Blends

Ever face the conundrum of buying a name brand product versus a generic? Usually we default towards the generic, but sometimes (especially with ingredients for food) there is that eye brow raise and we talk about it. Today was such day when we were looking for banana pudding mix. We needed 2 boxes. We faced Jell-O brand at 82 cents and the generic at 53 cents. Our solution was to buy one of each and blend. The net result? We had a super banana pudding dessert AND we learned that the generic would have sufficed just fine. However, hedging our bets saved us $0.30 this time and didn't jeopardize the yummy treat.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dangerous Places in Stores

The most dangerous areas in grocery stores, or any store for that matter, for a money warrior is the check out line. Why? Because that is where the enemies like to entice you with impulse buys.

While walking through WalMart today, I watched people standing in line grabbing all sorts of stuff and adding to their carts. Hats off to the business, thumbs down to the suckers who just had to buy the latest People magazine and/or grab that ever so seductive pack of M&Ms.

The experience offers a great opportunity for teaching important lessons. Our kids are allowed to have candy, for example, if they want it but they have to ask for it before we go into the store. If they don't, then they don't get any! This approach helps teach them about planning and watching for impulse desires. Additionally, we often make it a game as we stand in line .... we make guesses about which people will grab what items. We talk about what is causing people to be driven to grab things. We make suggestions about what the store could be doing to get more people grabbing things. All this helps the little ones understand the psychological warfare that they are being assaulted with.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Latte Money

Recently I was given a $20 Starbucks gift card. My normal mode of operation would have been to turn around and sell it for $15. However, I was out on the road for work and thought it would be a nice treat to have Starbucks each morning since I wasn't making coffee in my hotel room. 3 days later the card ran out of money. $20 in 3 days. Holy crap. You read about people warning against the money drain a Starbucks addiction can cause, but until you've experienced it first hand it is almost unreal. The amount of coffee I drank over those 3 days was not very much. As I write this, I'm sipping my home brewed stuff and it must cost a whopping $0.03 per cup (I buy coffee in bulk).

The experience really isn't about Starbucks .... it is about watching those daily expenses. Each day the money war rages on and armies are trying to suck it out of you. Chronicle what you spend, then go back and do an analysis. Look for those reoccurring expenses and see if you can eliminate them.

About 5 years ago, we chronicled every single penny we spent over a period of 6 months. The results were enlightening. Areas I thought we were spending poorly on, we did great and areas I thought we were doing great in, there was room for improvement. Test your assumptions.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Giving It Up for the Dream

How do you know when you’ve found your goal? When giving up something to accomplish your goal doesn’t feel like giving anything up.

2 times in the past week, I’ve had occasions to talk with different people about going after a goal. In both situations, the different people mentioned that for them to achieve their goal they would have to give up something and they were not prepared to do it. This means one thing: their dream really isn’t all that important to them.

When you’re certain about your dream, then giving up things is a trivial matter or you figure out how to keep the thing and incorporate it into your dream. The dream itself is the overriding factor. The dream happens no matter what. The dream makes everything else irrelevant.

The dream litmus test is simple: Does everything else take a second place? If it does, then you’ve found your ultimate dream. If it does not, you may have found something you like to do, but it isn’t your dream.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Killing Time - Don't Waste Yours

While standing in line, I overheard someone say that they were “just killing time.” This is one of the most appalling sentiments an alive human being could have. Killing time? All we have are a few precious few moments of life and here was a person looking for ways to kill time. I wanted to ask them if I could have their squandered time. If I knew of a way to take the moments from them, I would have.

Even if you are standing in line, you should never just kill time. You should use the time to think new thoughts …. consider new ideas … observe new things. When you’re dead, you will have plenty of time to do nothing … to kill time and waste it. It is while you are alive that you must make the most of all moments.

Next time you feel like “just killing time”, remember that your moments are finite and that you can never get them back, so be alive and never waste them. Killing time is wasted life.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bill’s Law and Murphy’s Law and Sod’s Law

Ever heard of Murphy’s Law, or the UK version Sod’s Law? It says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” It is considered prudent to plan for Murphy’s Law when sailing. While thinking through Murphy’s Law, I began to think back to other Law’s … physics laws.

Having a BS degree in Physics, I spent an awful lot of time studying physical laws. One of the universal concepts you pick up is balance and how the universe tries to reach equilibrium. It does this by always having a set of opposing forces. Some pushing, some pulling. Positive charges and negative charges. In fact, what makes the universe so interesting is the imbalances and the efforts to become balanced.

When I thought about Murphy’s law, I began to consider it’s opposite. “Anything that can go right, will go right.” As the discoverer of this amazing postulate, I hereby name this Bill’s Law.

Going forward, you must look for and note the number of occurrences of Bill’s Law that happen every day. You will be surprised at the count! Happy Bill Law hunting!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

No Bikes

We are constantly challenging what constitutes the minimum amount of stuff we have to take on our voyage. One item that has recently been removed from the list is folding bikes. We were very certain for a long time that we needed to have 2, if not 4, folding bikes. We just knew that we would end up some place and want to pull these them out to pedal around. After a number of email exchanges with other folks doing this “gig”, we’ve concluded that the number of places that we could actually use the bikes is so small that we shouldn’t waste our valuable space on them. Where we want to travel, the roads are unimproved, muddy, rocky, or just plain impassable with wheels.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gifts that Matter: Do you have any DVDs?

In many parts of the world, giving a gift will make all the difference in the world between a mediocre stay and a remarkable one. Many things that we take for granted are a big deal elsewhere. For example, quality pens, fishing hooks, travel sized lotions, and DVDs given to a local on an island could result in a free nights lodging, boat repairs, a spectacular local meal, entry into a country, or even black pearls. Each of these are actual “rewards” that were given in exchange for the gifts noted above. What does this mean for us? It is time to stash away the gifts! If you have any used DVDs you no longer want and are willing to donate them to our cause, please let us know!