Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Shipyard Tour!

It’s been an interesting week for me with a combination of some new discoveries, a lot of hard work, and new contact with a couple of very special people.  I’m going to share my new discovery first.


My camera has a macro setting on it.  I never knew that before.  I was reading the instruction booklet to learn more about using it as a webcam and camcorder and I stumbled across the instructions on how to use the macro feature.  Macro is just a term for extreme close up.  I recently purchased an inexpensive tripod for shooting some video so I’m all set to try the macro feature.  Here are two close up shots of some blooming flowers in the front of our house.




As you can see, I’m not an expert at framing, background, and subject matter yet, but it’s a beginning.  I was just happy that I could now focus on something that close up to the camera.


The hard work was because of a very busy weekend due to some great weather and the absence of my new assistant.  He had to go out to Wyoming to be the best man at his best friend’s wedding.  This was no surprise; he covered his need to be away this weekend in the interview process.  I had my high school part timer to help out, but he didn’t come in until 3:30 each afternoon and believe me when I tell you I was really running to keep up with it all.  I got through it and did not have even a single complaint, so all is well on the work scene.


The new contact with special people was great.  My sister, Jan, has two fine offspring whom I have lost contact with over the last couple of years due to career constraints, busy schedules, and very long distances between us. I had the opportunity to catch up with both Carrie and Evan and learn of all the happenings in their lives right now.  They are living out in Arizona at the moment.  Carrie is on active duty with the US Air Force and Evan is a food and beverage manager for a very upscale and popular restaurant out that way.


I learned that Evan has developed a vocal talent I did not previously know about and he is learning to play the guitar as well.  If I can ever get what I need in order to do some good video, I plan on exchanging tapes and tips with Evan.  He used to really enjoy listening to me play the guitar when he was a youngster.  If I can be of any help to him now, I would welcome the opportunity.


That pretty much sums up my week.  I have something else I want to share today, as well, though.  Not too long ago, I was given a tour of that big Ship Yard in Thunderbolt.  That is the yard that does the work on the mega yachts and I’ve posted some PICS in previous entries of the facility as seen from the water.  I always was curious as to how they moved those huge ships around on land to work on them and I finally got my answers.


Here is a shot of the work yard area of the facility as seen from the water.



They have a railway system that goes out on a pier.  The ship is maneuvered at the end of the pier over a platform that has supports and can be lowered into the water and raised up again with the ship resting on the supports.  This next shot shows the supports on the rail system without a ship on it.



This next shot is of the same railway system but with a ship.

You can also see one of the tractors that are used to pull the rail system with the ship on it.  This tractor has a front loader on it like a bulldozer.




There are some huge airplane hangar-like buildings that they take these ships into for certain types of work.  The different sections are called work bays.  They can move the ship off of the pier and into each work bay via a sliding track rail system. One work bay might be a paint shop; another one might be for mechanical work.  Here is a shot of the sliding rail.



The next shot is of a ship in the paint bay.



The last shot that I have to share gives you a feeling for all the activity going on at this shipyard.



So, there you have it, the Georgia Boatman’s dime tour of a real working shipyard.  I’m sure you can sleep better at night now that you are armed with all of this information.  Personally, I was thrilled to get the tour.  Until next time, I’ll see Ya on the docks!



Tuesday, September 19, 2006

VIVI Time Once More!

It’s been a very busy week for me and, as much as I enjoyed it, I am glad it’s over now.  We hosted the Leukemia Cup Regatta at the marina for the tenth year in a row.  I took my camera with me to work, but for the first time in a long time, I was not able to get away to shoot any pictures of the event.  We were hosting a big fishing tournament at the same time this year.  You know me, when there is something going on and I have my camera, I squeeze off a few shots.  That I didn’t get any shots at all should tell you just how busy we really were


Other than a couple more fishing tournaments, that is just about the last big hoopla of this year’s season.  We will settle into our winter routine in the coming weeks and I’ll have a lot more time to take pictures again.


It’s that time of year again here in J-Land, too!

The Vivi Awards will be held again this year thanks to the dedication and hard work of this year’s committee.  To put this together and pull it off takes some very hard work and all of the committee members deserve more than just a pat on the back in my humble opinion.  Thank you, to all who are

doing so much to make this happen again this year.


The Vivi Awards are a way of recognizing the excellence of our fellow journalists within the framework of AOL Journals.  The huge benefit each year to all is the exposure we all get to new journals, that is journals we have not discovered and read before.  There is so much talent here in J-Land and to be able to search through the recommended journals always turns up some great finds for me.


If you haven’t done so yet, please take the time to go to the Vivi Awards site and see all of the names that are being suggested this year.  Just click on the above link.  Go to these journals and have a read and be ready with your own opinions when the voting starts.


While I’m on the subject of new journals, I’ve been reading a couple lately that I only recently discovered.  One is an AOL Journal and the other is not.  The AOL Journal I refer to is “Comments On The Events Of My Life.”  Bill has had an extraordinary life and shares with us stories and photos.  He is a true American hero as he was one of the volunteers helping out at Ground Zero after the attacks of 9-11-2001.  His background as a former New York City police officer and a New York City fireman gives him an insightful perspective.  He just got a new digital camera and I am really looking forward to seeing him make that baby sing in upcoming posts.  Click on the above link and check him out if you get a chance.


The second new journal I want to tell you about is written by a Lady named Nancie who works for AOL and is in charge of Community Experiences here.  She has started a journal, “Hummingbird Mind,” in which she talks about becoming an Empty Nester and also updates us on new literary offerings as they appear on the scene.  Give her journal a read if I’ve stirred your curiosity.  You can find her by clicking on the above link.  If you visit any of theseor other journals you have not read before, leave a comment so they will know you’ve been there.  Even if you only say, “Hi!” all of us journal writers enjoy knowing someone has stopped by to scan our sites.


I’m off now to spend the rest of my day off experimenting with some sound and video equipment.  Who knows, I may have some very interesting (or not) entries in the coming weeks if all goes well.  Take care and I’ll see Ya next time!


Tuesday, September 5, 2006


I have a story I want to share with you about a film commercial that I was a part of years ago.  I have yet to find the pictures of that shoot, but in my search for them today, I found some of Paulette and I that were taken in 1989 during the period of our courtship.


I believe the pictures that I was searching for are now living in a box in our storage unit.  That storage unit is a ten or fifteen minute drive from here.  That’s a drive that I don’t want to make today so I decided to show you these pictures instead.  After all, these pictures live in a picture envelope that is stuffed in a drawer and are serving no purpose at all to anyone.  So, I wiped the dust off of them, popped them onto my scanner and I offer them up to you now as a glimpse into a period of our family history right about the time we were deciding to become a family.


This first shot is of me standing on the deck of the Halcyon sipping a drink as the sun falls over the yardarm.  Not that there ever was a yardarm on the Halcyon, but it’s a nautical phrase and it sounds kind of neat to say.



This next shot is of me holding up a grouper that Jack Cosgrove and I caught while trolling in the Tampa Bay ship’s channel on the Halcyon.  One of my very first entries in this journal was of that fishing trip with Jack, but the picture I used in that post showed Jack holding the fish.  To be fair, Jack hooked the fish.  By the time I got the boat into neutral and got down from the upper steering station to join Jack on the deck, Jack thought the fish had gotten off the line.  He handed the rod to me and I started reeling it in.  I, too, thought there was no fish on until the fish was reeled in close enough to see the boat.  Suddenly the rod doubled as the fish strained to get away.  Jack and I stood our ground and finally got the fish over the rails and onto the boat.



This next shot is of me holding up an eight and a half pound lobster that I caught while scuba diving with my pal, Ken Kelly.  We were about twelve miles off of Clearwater Beach diving from my twenty foot Wellcraft named Reel To Reel.  I stumbled across some pictures of the Reel To Reel today and may post one in a later entry for y’all to see.  This lobster took me three full meals to eat.  Lobster is my favorite meal right behind a good steak.  I had a big appetite even back then, so you know that this was a huge lobster.



The next two pictures are of Paulette and I as we were leaving the marina to attend a Christmas party in Tampa, Florida about a thirty minute drive north from where we kept the Halcyon docked.  It’s hard to believe we were so young.  It’s even harder to accept that we are no longer young like that, LOL!  Oh well, we are still young in our hearts and spirits and that is what matters, I guess.




Although Paulette and I were not married yet when I purchased the Halcyon, we were seriously dating and Paulette was very involved with me in the selection process.  Our lives centered on boating back then and we seized every opportunity we could to enjoy the Halcyon.  There was a little island in Tampa Bay near the shipping channel that had a perfect little cove on the protected side of it.  This little cove was perfect to anchor the Halcyon in.  We would pull up on Friday evening and drop anchor and not leave until mid day on Sunday.  Since the Halcyon had a generator, we had all the comforts of home right there at the island for the whole weekend.  This shot is of Paulette and I on the top deck of the Halcyon with the Island in the background as we motored home.  I’m sitting at the upper steering station and Paulette is right behind me sitting in a deck chair enjoying the breeze, the view and the taste of salt in the air.



I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the past with me.  I do think these photos look a lot better on here than tucked away in that drawer.  I found some pictures of film and video shoots I was on during my search through the family archives so I may show some of them soon.  Unfortunately they were not the shoot I wanted to write about today.  I’ll go to my storage unit in the next week or two and try and find the pictures I originally wanted to use today, as well.


In other news, everyone made it through the holiday weekend in one piece here.  We are still experiencing weather in the low to mid nineties and 100% humidity.  Science tells us that cooler weather is on the horizon, but it would be hard to prove to us right now.   As for me, well, I had the day off today and I stayed in the blissful air conditioning all day long.  It was a good day.  I got in a little guitar playing, took a short nap, and threw this post together.  It’s been fun, but I have some serious loafing to accomplish to finish out the day.  See you next time!