Friday, June 30, 2017

Evanston: chop shop; raining gannets; the last kingdom

        I went to the chop shop yesterday, otherwise known as my skin cancer specialist’s office.  She indeed removed a half dozen bits of my flesh for biopsy and froze a few more.  None of this is painful and there is the compensation that the doctor is a beautiful woman; but, perhaps as can be expected considering my extreme age, the process of my skin deteriorating seems to be accelerating.
        Two days ago I ordered hearing aids and paid the deposit on the North Sails.  Both cost about the same.
        I certainly am looking forward to the sails more and hope to have them before I leave Marathon.  If not I may pick them up at the North loft at Tampa on my way to Pensacola.  But I am in fact also looking forward to getting the hearing aids in a couple of weeks.  My hearing loss is described as moderate to severe.  Moderate for low tones; severe for high.  I have difficulty with women’s voices, in restaurants and airports, and in foreign countries where English is spoken with accents that I do not usually hear.
        Being half blind and some significant percentage deaf means I am losing touch with reality, which, reality being what it is, has some virtues; but it will be nice not to have to ask Carol to repeat everything.


        I thank James for the links to several short videos about GANNET’s eponymous bird.  They are as remarkable as she is.


        The Last Kingdom is a series of presently ten novels by Bernard Cornwall and presently a two season television series. I have read other of Bernard Cornwall's books and think these are his best.
        I came across them when the publishers offered the first one for $1.99 through BookBub, hoping that after reading it, readers would want to buy the rest.  I did and I did.  Thus far I’ve read five of the novels and Carol and I will watch the last episode of the second season of the television series on Netflix tonight.
        Set toward the end of the ninth century when what is now England was divided into seven kingdoms, several of which were controlled by Vikings, and Alfred, now known as The Great, was King of Wessex, the hero is Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a great warrior, the son of a Saxon noble, but dispossessed of his property by his uncle and raised by Danes, who he considers to be his true family.
        Uhtred and Alfred are uncomfortably linked. 
        Alfred is a Christian in the southwest who wants to drive out the Danes and unite the kingdoms into an England that does not exist.  Uhtred believes in the Danish gods and fate and wants to recover his lands in Northumbria.  They need more than like one another.
        The novels are entertaining, well written with compelling characters and interesting history.  As I have said, I read one and bought them all, though online I found an interview in which Bernard Cornwall says he may write two more.  If he does, I’ll buy them too.
        The television series covers the first four novels quite well.  That the series comes from the same company that produced Downton Abbey assures its quality.  I read that there may be a third season.  I hope so.  If there is, I’ll watch it.

        The above photo is a frame lifted from one of the videos of GANNET in the Indian Ocean.  I’ve just come to realize the obvious:  there are advantages in being able to go through parts of a video frame by frame and pick the best shot.

        The one at the top is more dramatic.  But I like this one too.  The top number on the Velocitek is true heading; the lower number SOG.  Note how little of the jib was set and that the main was reefed.  You can see part of it hanging down on the far right.
        Hopefully she will sail even better with her new sails.
        Go GANNET.