Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Wonderful Contest Revived!

One of the saddest moments in my time here in J-Land was the day Judith Heartsong left the AOL journals community as a result of unsolicited advertising being insert into our journal pages.  Besides losing one of the best written and most read journals In J-Land when Judith left, the monthly Arsty Essay Contest died a sudden death and our community suffered a big loss.

The monthly Artsy Essay Contest was set up to bring writers together to share and explore their talent.  It was to encourage individuals to try and explore their creative side and to practice writing skills.  It was a contest for beginners and seasoned writers alike.  There was never anything like this contest before Judith Heartsong created it and there has been nothing like it since.  Until now!

There is life on the Internet beyond AOL Journals and we are fortunate that Judith set up shop elsewhere in the land of HTML and continued Blogging.  Time has passed and Judith has decided to revive her Artsy Essay Contest with some new ideasand expanded formats.

I really enjoyed the challenge of these contests and the ability to discover other writers through this forum.  I also coveted one of those Heartsong awards and compete I did!  Nope, I never won one, but the fun was in the trying.  So, here goes my entry into the newly revived Artsy Essay Contest.


The theme for this month is:

What is your favorite and most inspiringpossession? Tell us about it, and if you want an extra creative challenge... tell us about it without naming it until the very last sentence of your essay:):):)


My favorite and most inspiring possession first came into my life on my fourteenth birthday.  It was a gift from my parents and with it, I was told came responsibilities and obligations.  I think my mom was afraid I would be entertained by this gift for a while and then it would be set aside to collect dust like so many previous possessions through my early years.

This item required care and dedication.  One gets out of certain items only what one is willing to put into them.  To my parents’ delight I devoted myself and took the time to care for this item as it deserved.  It was not long before I wanted another one.

Oh, we have had our rough times, this possession and I.  There were periods that I was so frustrated and fed up with it that I didn’t even want to look at it again. That feeling would wane and I would catch myself staring at it fondly and imaging it in my hands as it would take me places.  Most would think that I would be the one doing the taking, yet there were times past when this possession would take me to places I never dreamed possible.

Through this possession I soared to the heavens and felt a Rocky Mountain high.  I was transported to Shangri-La and have experienced the summer breeze.  I have gone over the rainbow and have found my happiness.

Yes, as I said, I did not have it long before I wanted another one.  I was given one that was bigger, brighter, and shinier the following Christmas.  I cherished it and was devoted to it.  Since that time many of these have passed through my hands and my heart.  Some were purchased and some were traded.  Some were quite rare and my current one is quite expensive. At one time I even contemplated making one myself, however, I knew I would fret over it and did not want to subject myself to the rigors the craftsmanship would require.

There is no feeling quite like it as my hands touched this item for the first time and each time I touch it seems like the first time.  I follow the gentle curves of its body.  I feel the tightness and tension within.  I know the myriad of emotions this possession can invoke. 

Inspiration comes to me often as we spend our time together.  Through ownership of this possession I have been inspired to express myself in ways never possible to me before.

Sometime my hands shake as I caress this possession and sometimes they ache.  Aching with pain as I produce sensations of pleasure, I feelthe vibrations through my soul.  Others around me can sense my emotional intensity while fondling this item, sometimes to my pleasure and sometimes to great embarrassment.

There is no other feeling like it, though, when I know that my caressing, my fondling, my gentle and harsh stroking brings pleasure to others.  It is my wish to keep this possession to the day I die.  I never want to be without my guitar.

           (SCROLL DOWN)



Monday, July 16, 2007

This Summer

This summer has caught me up and carried me away.  This has to be one of the busiest seasons we’ve ever had at the marina.  I have a good staff this year, but we are one short of what I had last year.


My staff is a little older and more mature this summer, so the work has been getting done more efficiently than last year even with the shortage.  My role seems to have changed.  I was more hands on in past summers, sharing in the daily grind type of chores right along with the dock crew.  Now, with the Ship’s Store and some major maintenance projects I have subcontracted out I am playing a much more administrative role.


My normal routine used to include me going over to the main kitchen after opening up and getting one last cup of coffee to help start my working day.  I’ve been hitting the ground running lately and that last cup now seems like a luxury item from the past.  I’m not complaining, mind you, I’m just reflecting on the changing characteristics of my job and justifying a bit why it has been so long again between posts.


Summer has always given me many more photo opportunities that seem to end up here in my journal.  I still take my camera to work each day, but have not been able to get out and utilize it to the extent I have done so in the past.  Here’s an example of a past situation and how I had to handle it this year.


The weekend after the fourth of July each year we host the Firecracker Regatta.  In years past I have taken pictures and posted an entry after the event here in Dock Lines.  It is a much different event for me now due to changes in our facilities and changes in my capabilities in the office.


I used to help launch the committee boats and then man the sailboat hoists to help launch the sailing fleet before the race.  After the boats left for the starting line I would have down time until the races were over and they all returned to the marina.  I would then launch a club boat and chase the fleet to get pictures of the action.


We have installed a ramp for small sailboats and they no longer have to be launched from a hoist.  The kids can just wheel them down the ramp and push them off into the water and go.  I now assign two strong young members of my staff to help lift the boats off the dollys and get them into the water.  We can get the entire fleet into the water in about a fourth of the time it would take to launch each and every boat using the hoist.


We had a very unstable weather forecast during the race weekend this year.  Saturday morning dawned with bright sunshine and calm waters.  We had a 40% chance of thunderstorms with the chances increasing as the day progressed.  There was little wind although the forecast proclaimed it would be five to ten blowing from the northeast.  The delay of race pennant was hoisted and the fleet waited and waited.


About ninety minutes past the normal start time the wind picked up and the races began.  I was heading to get a club boat into the water when I was stopped by the race committee and asked to put up the local Doppler radar on my computer and monitor the weather during the actual races.  We had a front system approaching and they wanted to squeeze every safe minute they could to make up for lost time.


For the first two races I was consulted before the start of the race and that was about it.  Then came the third race of the day.  We could see some weather in the distance and what we saw looked nasty.  I was asked to stand by and give a weather update every five minutes which coincided with the radar animation as it updated on a five minute schedule.


We pretty much took over VHF radio channel 68 for the next forty five minutes as I was relaying the approach of the weather front to the safety boat who then was analyzing the 36 mile radar they had onboard their boat.  The difference was that my radar showed the weather over a map of the local area and the boat’s radar screen did not.  However, the boat’s radar screen could pick up lightning strikes.  I gave them a thirty minute prediction to the storm hitting the race course, then a twenty minute prediction.


The safety boat wanted confirmation that the front was south of the Savannah River and heading in an Easterly direction from Garden City towards the race course.  I confirmed the position and movement and predicted fifteen minutes until it hit.  The ship’s radar picked up a lighting strike ten miles to our south.  I predicted ten minutes until arrival and more lightning was seen by the safety boat’s radar.


They blew the whistle and the boats beat it into the marina.  I sent four young men down to help get the boats out of the water.  The front hit exactly on the minute I predicted.


The race committee had known it would be close for the third race, so the course had been set right in front of the marina.  The small boats had little distance to go to get to safety and many of them got a tow by all the safety boats.  There were only four or five boats still in the water when the first lightning bolt struck within a quarter of a mile.  All the racers were already on land and undercover and then the sky opened up.  My crew, bless them, got the few remaining boats out of the water in the rain and that was it for Saturday’s racing.


The captain on the safety boat made a point of finding me amongst the crowd and shakingmy hand for such an accurate running commentary on the impending weather front.  We were being monitored by other marinas on Channel 68 and they started calling wanting to know when the weather would hit them!  I never got a chance to launch the club boat and was not able to snap a single photo that day.


Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny much as the day before.  The difference was that, although the entire fleet launched for more racing, the wind never came up and the regatta was called.  They got enough races in on Saturday to meet the official criteria for a regatta and winners were determined from Saturday’s standings.


I understand some nice words were said before the audience at the awards presentation about me and the performance of my staff.  I didn’t hear them, though.  I was back on duty at the docks.  Perhaps next year I’ll figure a way to get pictures again.


My thanks to Donna for this tag.