Archive for February, 2016

2016 Oscars

As Pat and I prepare to watch the Oscars on TV (for the first time not in a group party just the two of us) I realize how times have changed.  As I look through the list of nominees I realize Pat and I have only gone to the theatre to see one of the movies.  The Martian (great movie) up for many awards.  We did see Bridge of Spies (up for a music award) but we rented that.

Actually did not see a lot of movies at the theatre and those we saw did not make the cut.  This has much changed since when we were young where we would have seen most of the movies back at a time where going to the movies was a weekly event.  Granted I am married and no longer have to take a girl out to …. ah ah ah  enjoy her company.

It is not as if we do not like movies but it is so much easier (and cheaper) to wait a year and watch on Netflix.


Are You a Thief?

I answered the phone tonight, even though it was from an unlisted number.

Pat said “Don’t answer,  it is a Scam”  But I did.  Who knows it could be from one of the kids phoning from a pay phone in some obscure location after they escaped from a kidnapper.  We see that all the time on TV.

But Pat was correct, it was some guy with a funny accent telling me that he was phoning from our bank to correct some information.  This has happened before.  I am normally very polite and listen through his spiel,  and then ask him (or her) if they tell their parents that they are thieves.  At this point there is normally a pause and I say, Well do you tell your parents that you steal money from people for a living?  At this point they hang up and move on to the next caller.  But it always gives them a pause.

When I was 17 I took my 1956 Ford to the local dealer for some much needed service. I tried to repair as much as I could but this fix needed a trained mechanic.  (horrible cars in those days)

At the time I was making diddley squat on Saturday jobs and driving a truck in the summer.

I picked up the car at the dealer and the bill was much less than I anticipated.  As I looked at it I realized that the clerk had only added the labour and not the parts.  Whoopee.  I went home and made the mistake of bragging to my father about my good luck.

Dad looked at the bill and told me… You have to go back and get this corrected.  I said “Dad, Percival Motors is a rich and I am poor”  but there was no recovery.  I went back and pointed out the error (I still recall there was no thank you just an acknowledgement that there was an error).  I admit I went home wishing I had never told my dad.

Anyway this view on honesty has seemed to stick.  To this day if I receive too much change from the clerk at the store I make a point to correct it because even though Dad is long gone he is still there over my shoulder.  (now, granted this does not include some padding of my expense accounts when I was in sales but that is another issue)

So when I tell a telemarketer to ask his family if he is a thief I hope this might come with some guilt.  I assume that this is the attitude of our children.

And so far I think I am right (aside from Janine charging too much for under arm deodorant)


Over the Rainbow

OK, this will be a long and involved blog (ie, DEEP thoughts) that will have some diversions.

Let us start with the beginning.  Many years ago I was driving back from Detroit one night heading home to Oakville.  Listening to a talk radio channel (you have to love this when you have a 4 hour drive after a long day).  The commentator, or whatever the term is, was challenging his phone-in audience on what actress was the most gorgeous of all time.  He was extolling Catherine Zeta-Jones (in a recent movie) and asking phone-in listeners to give their opinions.

Over the next half hour guys would phone in with their votes and he would just castigate their choice.  (why do people phone in only to be put down?)

As I was driving along and thinking that Bo Derek would be a good choice, sure enough someone connected and voted for her.  The host paused and said.. well good looking but not a good actress.

I thought, wait a minute, you take CZJ and Bo Derek in bikinis on a beach and you would pick CZJ… what is wrong with you.  So now I was thinking what is the actual most gorgeous actress of all time?  I phoned in (hands free as that was the rule for my company car) and was connected and told him GRACE KELLY.  He paused and said “what are you 100 years 0ld?” and moved on to the next caller.  I changed the channel on the radio and finished my drive home.  I still think she is the most gorgeous actress of all time.

One of my favourite book series is by Michael Connelly about Harry Bosch, a crusty Los Angeles Detective.  Great books that always score 4 on my personal scoring system of books.

Now Harry Bosch loves Jazz and in the books talks about bars or nightclubs where he might go to drown his sorrow with some drinks and listen to jazz.  The author mentions real artists in the stories.   In the latest book that I received from Janine and Vedran, “The Burning Room”, Bosch goes to a small club and listens to a super jazz Saxophone artist named Grace Kelly playing Over The Rainbow.  I thought this was so special I had to look her up and sure enough she is a young prodigy jazz performer, and despite the fact that she is Korean, her legal name is actually Grace Kelly.

So I took some of the ITunes money that I have been given by my kids to download one of her albums, including  Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

A few years ago Blaine introduced us to the Hawaiian Kama… version and since then we have appreciated that this is a great song well covered by serious artists.

So if you have the opportunity, listen to the Grace Kelly version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow  in a quiet room were you have time to appreciate it.

Mackerel Snapper Night

As the kids will tell you, I have spent a lifetime (as a protestant) referring to Catholics as Mackerel Snappers.  Furthermore we have generally tried to save Friday nights for seafood (which I refer to as Mackerel Snapper Night).  Despite this reference, we have never cooked Mackerel in our 47 years together, until tonight.

Our local Thrifty grocery store (which by the way is not thrifty but we could actually walk to if needed) has a great seafood section.  Fresh Salmon, Halibut, shrimps, oysters and Cod are the norm with Trout from the interior of BC.  The benefit of living on an Island off the west coast.

This week I was doing the daily shopping and passed by when the monger pointed out to me that he had just brought out some fresh Mackerel to display on a bed of ice.  I thought, what the heck… let’s try it (actually I asked Pat’s permission first)  Life is an adventure.

A whole mackerel (see pic) gutted.  I figured the normal BBQ with lemon inserts.  Went on the internet and it warned to make sure the gills are removed and never eat the head.  I checked and while it was gutted the gills were still there.  Apparently Mackerel gills are toxic and must be removed.  Never had that with salmon.  I cut out the gills and then to be safe cut off the head.

I cooked it on the BBQ outside because it was apparent in the preparation that Mackerel smells….fishy.  Good thing.

We served it with a wild rice medley, corn, sweet potato.   The fish tasted OK but not spectacular.  I would eat a Salmon any day before I would eat another Mackerel.

But at least I can now honestly refer to Friday night as Mackerel Snapping night.


My Diana

I have added the My in front of Diana so I do not get thousands of hits on my blog about a car crash in Paris.

This blog is about my next model HMS Diana.

Last fall when I finished The Mathew I was left with a problem.  Normally I start planning the next model a full year before finishing so I could spend time selecting an idea and searching for plans.  I was so focussed on finishing the Mathew to give to Ryan and Corrie before Christmas (and I had a little heart issue) that I only realized that I did not have another project on the ways.

So I went to my inventory of plans and realized, that while the model of The Victory was great I had no desire to take on a project that massive.  I really enjoyed the model of The Juno, a British 32 gun Frigate from 1780 that I built many years ago and the only completed model we have at home.

But I did not want to repeat the same model so I decided to make The Diana a 36 gun Frigate built in 1794.  Problem was I only had a book on it and not the detailed plans.  I thought I could use the scantlings from the Juno but, while basically the same, the Diana is a bit larger.  So lots of adjustment of plans for the frames.

Then, in one dark and lonely night as I was anticipating my upcoming heart operation…(I probably had too much to drink that night)….. I decided to make it in the admiralty style. Lets go out in a glory.

This is a huge commitment for a model shipwright

Admiralty style is how the contractors would provide models to the Navy board in the 18th century to show how the ship would be contoured.  They hired the best model builders of the time to produce the hull models.   The lower frames are left open to show the run and sheer and planked above with all the artwork . The frames are adjacent and have to be finished inside and out.  This  framing is nothing like the way the actual ships were framed, it is an artistic style.  The model builders were well paid artisans and the models remain today in the museums in England even if the ship was never commissioned.  Basically today, admiralty style is only done by a model builder trying showing off his skill.

I spent 6 years on The Sutherland which was in the admiralty style and a year making the hull.

Years later I made the Fubbs (a much simpler model) in the admiralty style and I swore I would never build another.

Somehow I forgot this lesson and decided to make the Diana in the Admiralty style.  Started it last October and now have a basic frame structure  Every night over the last few months  I would come up from the shop telling Pat “Never let me make an Admiralty model again”

The framing is so finicky.  You have to line up the spaces and the frame thicknesses over a curve.   What you see in the picture is still rough (the top of the frames have to be trimmed) but what you are looking at is $100 of pear wood where 99% is in the discards and sawdust.

But I am kind of happy with the results and you will see more photos as the model proceeds.   I also include a picture of The Fubbs to give you an indication of what this will look like when I am done.  I will not fully rig the model because the art is in the hull…… There will be many more blogsDSC_0005_3