Monday, January 27, 2014

Evanston: man of the future; the good head; grounded

        From Larry on the west coast came:  A List Of Ten Things That Will Disappear In Our Life Times:  More scary than humorous, for which I thank him.
        The ten are:  the Post Office; cheques; printed newspapers; printed books; land line telephones; music; television; the ‘things’ you own; joined handwriting; privacy.
        None of these present the least problem to me.
        The Post Office brings nothing much except catalogs.  I’ll be sorry for the workers who lose their jobs, but that’s it.  The Internet, UPS and FedEx suffice.
        I almost never write or receive checks (from ‘cheques’ the list was compiled by someone in the Commonwealth).  Earnings are directly deposited; marina fees are directly taken from my account, as are a few other recurring charges; and I pay for everything else with debit cards or cash.
        I don’t recall the last time I read a printed newspaper; and I much prefer to read books on my iPad mini and Kindle.  Of my own books, the Kindle royalties are greater than those from paper.   I would not care in the least if the remaining two went out of print.  
        There will be, by the way, audio versions of some of my books, hopefully before the end of this year.  I received the contracts by email; printed them; signed; scanned; and emailed them back.  Sorry, Post Office.
        I have never liked telephones.  When on GANNET, I do use my cell phone.  At the condo we only keep the landline because the front door intercom in our building is linked to it.
        Music.  This really is about the music business, which may be self-destructing.  I already have more music than I can listen to; and I am certain that true musicians will continue to make music, whether they get paid or not, because they love to do so.
        Television.  I watch little, mostly sports and movies, and when on GANNET none at all without any sense of loss.
        The ‘things’ you own.  I don’t own that much and could easily fit everything that I want, except Carol, in GANNET.  This, however, is really about ‘things’ such as software and services being in The Cloud and available only through subscription fees.  
        I’ve already been confronted with this in that I don’t really own the $400 of electronic charts I bought to run in iNavX.  However, I do have them downloaded to my iPad and iPad mini.
        Until high-speed Internet connections are inexpensive and ubiquitous, it will have to be possible to function offline.  
        Joined handwriting.  As anyone who has had the misfortune to see it knows, my handwriting has always been terrible.  Now, on those rare occasions when I put pen or pencil to paper, I print.
        Privacy.  That we live in a surveillance state with unfortunate tendencies—I considered a much stronger word than ‘unfortunate’— is fact.  However, there is still enough privacy for me in mid-ocean.
        Thus, I find that I am the man of the future.
        I emailed this surprising conclusion to Larry, who emailed back:  Yes.  You may uniquely be both a man of the future - and past.
        From time to time people do tell me that I was born a hundred—or more—years too late.
        I must be doing something wrong, because I aim to live in the present.


        I read of a proposed regulation that anyone who ties a dinghy to the public dock in Key West must show a receipt that the holding tank on the dinghy’s mother ship has been pumped within the preceding two weeks.  
        That there is a report stating that if all pleasure craft pumped their heads at the same instant in tidal waters, the result would not only be insignificant, it would be immeasurable, is irrelevant in a country where a third of the citizens don’t accept the theory of evolution.  And before you ask, I can’t provide a reference to the report, which I have seen quoted over the years.
        However, the writer wondered how those with composting heads could meet this requirement, as I do how could those such as GANNET with Porta Potties.
        I remembered that I know a sailor who installed a composting head on his boat a year or so ago and emailed asking about his experience.  Roger replied that he likes the AirHead fine.
        He continued that there is a small fan that must be continuously on, but it is very quiet and draws negligible current.  On the AirHead site, a replacement fan costs only $25.
        He also notes that the AirHead is larger than standard marine heads and might not fit on some boats.  GANNET I’m sure among them.
        Other negatives might be cost and a little more involvement with the process than required by standard heads, but I agree with Roger that not having a holding tank or pump-outs outweigh these.
        I wrote back, “I wasn’t considering one for GANNET, but your report makes me wish it were possible.  Seems the best way to go.”  Not realizing the pun until I typed it.
        Thanks, Roger, for permission to share your information.


        Going aground on a ship is not usually to be desired; but this morning I came across a dramatic two minute video of a ship being deliberately run on shore in order to be scrapped.  The helmsman was right on.  What an odd sensation that must have been.