Mr. Wiener

Okay Mummy Dearest, since you wanted more pictures...

Here's Mr. Wiener!

A statue outside a roadside hot dog stand that turned out to be the home of the BEST hot dogs ever!!

Every time I drove past this statue I was tempted to take a picture of it, so my very last day in the area, resolved to complete my mission, I did it. In the car with me were two friends from the ship who had previously *also* driven past the stand, but instead of thinking, "Need to take picture!" they had both separately thought, "Need to eat hot dog."

Now, these two friends happened to both be vegan, and I in their company was eating green also, so we parked next to the statue and charged over on foot to the drive-thru window crying, "Do you have any veggie dogs?" While we waited we were able to go take our fill of Mr. Wiener pictures. Yes, the name of the statue is Mr. Wiener.

The serendipitous part of this story is that those were the *best* hot dogs served on the absolute *best* hot dog rolls, and I think I could've eaten ten of them. (Plus since they were veggie I didn't have to cloud out thoughts of slaughterhouse floor scrapings.) The random American flag comes from the fact that the dogs came in American flag holders!

Even Mr. Wiener can't resist eating his own delicious head!

Three Funniest Things Heard While Handling Docklines

All of these were said while I was on the ship, working a dockline in the middle of a docking maneuver.

Number one-
Man on land: "Nice yacht you have there!"
Me: "It's, um, a schooner, actually...but yeah, thanks."
Man: "Are you the owner?"
Me: (handling a relatively unimportant line on the bow of a 130ft tall ship while coming in to dock, clearly not at helm) ". . . No."

Number two-
(while going through the Ballard Locks)
Man on land: "So... Is this some kind of fishing boat? Are you kids all in school?"
Crew: ". . ."

Number three-
(overheard, while captain is fighting the helm against the wind, just nearing the dock, now thirty feet away, now twenty feet, now ten...)
Woman passenger to captain: "Got much wildlife around here?"
Captain: "?!? Not now!"

Hey look! A bunch of sailors dangling over the water!

Back on Land, Sad Sailor

My ship has come in, but I'm very sad to be a landlubber once again. I miss that the rooms don't all rock and that I hear no water lapping near my head as I go to sleep. I miss the steady action... but I don't miss jumping to the whims of the first mate. And I definitely don't miss having to hike three blocks to go visit the shore head. (Hooray for free showers! Showers forever! Showevers!)

I also miss the constant singing. Granted, it was usually just *me* doing the constant singing - I was compared at one point to the Singing Bush in "The Three Amigos." No one around; just me scrubbing the sole boards and singing, singing, singing. (But look, you have to sing while you clean heads or else you just go crazy, that's all.) There were also the chanties we sang while we worked the sails, songs you heard a million times yet never tired of - John Kanaka, The Esoquibo River, Cape Cod Girls. On a few crew-only sails we chantied to other songs...Memorable especially was when a particularly loony crewmate led us in a chanty that went "Man!...boy!!...boy!" over and over again. (The same crewmate who substituted "Pi-ka-chu!" for our traditional "2-6-heave!" while sweating up the lifts.)

I checked off a few of the goals I set for myself this season. Walked from the tip of the bowsprit to the end of the main boom without touching the deck. Learned how to splice line together. Helped set the anchor. The biggest by far was flying the topsails, the three additional sails to our usual four that we aren't allowed to set when passengers are aboard. The wind was mild and agreeable the day we chose to do it, but by the time we had everything ready to go, gusts and gales were blowing around us, and waves were breaking hard on our bow. But we had spent all that time preparing and weren't about to let a little weather stop us, so just outside Seattle we raised all seven at once, all hands to every line, then sent out our Zodiac tender to capture a few quick pictures of our ship in all her glory. As soon as the pictures were taken we dropped the sails fast, but the wind was yanking and ripping them all to skelter and threatening to whip any inattentive sailor right over the lifelines. While taking down the main topsail I myself was jerked down from my perch on the fife rail and dragged along the deck a few feet before I had the presence of mind to drop the line; the others on it were bunched together deck-of-cards style before they did the same, halyard dancing above us like a tiger's tail, sail canvas slapping against sail canvas with a crack that seemed to call back the ghost of the ship's battle around Cape Horn.

But alas, we were not off the Horn, only off Elliot Bay, and there was no one around to see our glorious show but a few ocean tankers, a distant ferry, and a curious Coast Guard. It was a good moment. A ship without all her sails flying is like an eagle with its wings folded in.

Translation Party!

I was just introduced to Translation Party, a fantastic website that translates an English phrase back and forth between Japanese and English until the translation no longer changes. Now my sides are hurting with laughter. This was the best translation transition so far:

We like to bake and eat chocolate chip cookies each and every night.

Thus the long conversion to equilibrium:
We like to bake and eat chocolate chip cookies each and every night.

We have to bake the chocolate chip cookies to eat, each, every night.

We have to eat chocolate chip cookies, respectively, every night, you should burn in the oven.

(*side note* - Apparently Japanese is a violent and vindictive place. I do not wish to go there.)

We have chocolate chip cookies, respectively, if you eat every night, you need to burn in the oven.

In this case, we are every night, if I was chocolate chip cookies, eat the bread in the oven, each is required.

In this case, we have every night, the chocolate chip cookies, I would eat bread in the oven for each is required.

In this case, we are chocolate chip cookies, I require each, and eat bread in the oven, that every night.

In this case, chocolate chip cookies, my oven every, every night, you need to eat the bread.


Wa! No wonder there are so many bad Japanese translations!

Give a Sailor Her Grog!

Hey look, I'm alive! Funny that while I have access to a computer, I avoid it at all costs, but now that I'm back sailing on the ship again, I lunge at the internet every chance I get!

Yes indeed, I'm back aboard the Adventuress and sailing along merrily as you please. This season I come back to the crew knowing my port from my starboard, my jib from my jibe, and that makes me "seasoned," I guess. An old salt. Neptune's own daughter. But I still don't feel entirely comfortable when I'm 70 feet up in the rigging.

I wish I had some fun pictures to post, but I forgot my camera cord at home, so the pictures are still trapped on the camera.

What to report so far? Well, I visited Olympia for the first time. The town is charming from the water. You look down the length of the deck along the very tip of Budd Inlet, last southern stand of the Puget Sound, and a mere four hundred feet away is a dancing fountain with the capital dome looming up behind it. Better yet, the same distance in the other direction is a seafood shack with better oysters than I thought the Sound could ever offer. But the downside is that the water of Budd Inlet is the backwash of Washington State, never flushed out, nasty and brown and devoid of all life but the hardiest filter feeders. I became rather depressed while searching for minnows for our educational aquarium, because I couldn't catch any that weren't deformed, diseased, or covered in tumors. I was at last tempted to go for one of the massive lion's mane jellyfish that dotted the waters. ("Hey kids! Here's our aquarium. Yeah, touch this!") So if the Washington legislators want an environmental project, they don't have to look very far.

What else? This year is bringing new challenges - learning to trim the sails myself, learning navigation, tying a turk's head knot, taking on the role of passenger herder in the event of emergencies. Also, I'm the Marine Science Officer (capitalized!), which gives the the glorious job of standing out in a tidal mud flat at 4 in the morning with a net and a bucket going, "Here, little moon snail! Here, moonie, moonie!" I's a'stockin' the aquarium, yeehaw.


Yes, blogging world, I'm still alive.

I've just been avoiding the internet like the plague. Perhaps it's because I'm spending all of my waking hours doing projects that already involve me staring at computer screens, and I'm worried that my long-range vision is well on its way down the tubes without me aggravating it with frivolous internet usage.

But Mr. Frozen Foods Man at the front door was trying to persuade me that his Peruvian mahi-mahi falls in the category of "responsible seafood" - or at least "not from China seafood" - so I had to check out the ol' reliable Seafood Watch page to see if he was telling the truth.

Seafood Watch has updated their site splendidly. If you haven't already gone there to check out your fish choices, you really should. (I've got a link to it on the sidebar just underneath the PNW Tree Octopus photo, yo.) They've added an entire section on sushi, so I dove right into the Things To Avoid category and found...

*cue ominous music*


Aaaa! Freshwater eel ranks closely behind salmon as my most favorite food in the whole wide world, and tonight I discover that not a single fin of it is sustainably raised!

Curse you, ethics and knowledge! Ignorance truly is bliss.

Guess I'm going to be eel-free for a while.