Monday, April 28, 2014

Fishing With Jen

















  I took my oldest daughter Jennifer out fishing with me a week ago. She enjoys being outside when the weather is sunny, even if it's kind of cold. As you can see from the top picture, it was chilly that morning when we started out. I asked her why she just didn't come inside if she was cold, but she wanted to experience the outdoors first hand, cold or not. She spends all week inside, which is fine when it's rainy or snowy, but when the weather starts to turn she chomps at the bit to get out. It was my second time dropping some lines this year. We had gotten a late start and the wind was blowing a bit,so I opted to just go to Point Sophia and troll around. There wasn't much sign of feed or fish, but we had to try anyway.  I heard from a few people the other day that there were some fish out in Cross Sound, but I'm not going to go out there right now. There's a relatively small area to fish in and I don't feel like being in with a group of aggressive fishermen fighting for a few fish. I really need to try and get my boat hauled out so I can do the annual maintenance on it- putting on the zincs, painting the bottom and the top side. It's so much easier to do when it's hauled out of the water. For years I just put the boat on the grid and rushed like a fool trying to get the bottom washed, put zincs on, do any caulking that needed done and paint the bottom, all before the tide came back in. It was incredibly stressful, and that was back when I could still bend down, lift things, and run around without fear of a heart attack. There comes a point in your life where you have to choose to either hire someone else to do the hard work, or figure out a way you can do it easier by yourself, both of which require money. Oh well. Back to Jen. She's always a lot of fun to have on the boat. In the summer when there are some fish around, she's great about cleaning whatever comes aboard. She doesn't have much interest in pulling them in, which for me is the fun part. Whatever floats your boat I guess. I'm hoping that she will come with me this summer for more trips. I need the help and she's got such a good attitude that she's fun to be around. Of course to her, the boat is just like our house- there isn't anything private at all. She looks through papers, grabs gear to check out, asks about all the equipment and helps herself to whatever food I have on board. Fortunately she hasn't tried any of my meds that are laying around. Not sure what the side effects of taking some prostate pills might be.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Coffee Anyone?



  Jan and I celebrated our forty- second anniversary last month. It was fairly uneventful for the most part. There was only one restaurant open in town and I don't like the owner so we didn't go out to eat. We have to go to Juneau soon, so we'll do something there. She wants to have breakfast at the Sandpiper restaurant downtown. She has her heart set on having the french toast with marscapone or some such thing. I've eaten there a few times and I can attest to the fact that they put out a darn tasty breakfast. Anyway, when my daughter Autumn called to wish us a happy anniversary,she said to keep a lookout for a box. She has somewhat strange tastes in gifts at times, and her sense of humor sometimes drives her gift buying, so I wasn't sure what to expect.She once sent a card that showed a guy in some kind of strange contraption like a diving suit with a hose connected between his backside and his face. The caption was -so and so liked the smell of his own farts so well that he invented a special suit or some such thing. Of course she thought it was hilarious- I wasn't real sure what to make of it.She sent an anniversary card that shows an older couple looking out over the water and the wife says something semi-romantic like " Can  you believe we're still married after all these years" and the husband says " Yeah, I could sure go for a beer."  Hmmm... as the apostle Paul says- to communicate forget not.  Anyway, the box she sent arrived and to my surprise it was stuffed full of assorted bags of coffee. I'm really not much of a gourmet  coffee kind of guy- mainly because I'm so blasted cheap! Consequently, we drink lots of Folgers here. What the heck, it tastes good to me, and if I buy it at Costco, it doesn't cost all that much. But there is also the fact that my daughter Jennifer lives in town, and on a regular basis comes to the house and makes herself at home, which of course is fine, but if she is here any length of time she has to have two or three or four cups of coffee. I don't want to get too graphic here, but coffee has a tendency to rush through the kidneys and into the bladder, at least around this house, so then we're not only providing refreshing beverages, but toilet paper for the inevitable drainage that's going to occur. It starts to get  expensive. Anyway, I looked through the various and sundry bags of coffee she sent. There are several bags from the Island Trader Coffee company.  French Vanilla and Hazelnut Creme. Before I had my glasses on I thought it said Hazelnut Crime. I thought, what the heck kind of coffee is Hazelnut Crime? The bag claims that it makes one perfect pot. Guess we'll find out. I wish I had that kind of confidence. I catch only perfect fish. I write only perfect books. I'm the perfect man. Oh yeah, I could get into this!  We just finished off the bag of Outhouse Blend from the Alaska Coffee Roastery. As bad as it may sound, it was pretty darn tasty. We're in the process of going through a bag of Starbucks Dark French Roast, also pretty good. We've still to try the KIVU French Vanilla or the Cafe' Godiva from Godiva Chocolatiers. I don't know if it's chocolate flavored or not, but it has a drawing, somewhat crudely done, of Lady Godiva on a horse. In contrast, I have a bag of coffee from the Raven's Brew Coffee company. It features a goat with three times the number of male members that other Billy goats would have and is appropriately named and the drawing is fairly accurate. It's twelve ounces of dark roast that they describe as having a "velvety mouthfeel, superb body. Uncanny high notes of fruity sweetness hover over a dry chocolate base."  We may save that for last, or try it out on Jen first to see how it tastes. The name is somewhat offsetting, but it might be great. In any event, we've got enough coffee to keep a buzz on for the next month or so. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by; we'll brew up a pot and see how long the toilet paper lasts.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Close but no cigar


















  I went fishing last Friday. It was my first trip for the season and actually, the first time in years when the boat was ready to leave the dock so soon. It seems that normally I'm waiting on something to be fixed or finished or some such thing and never make it out this early. Last year I was waiting on the mast to be done. The year before I was hauled out for months while the bow stem and some planks were replaced. I can't remember what the problem was in other years, but it's always something. I was speaking to my friend and fellow fisherman, Fagan Skafelstad. He had gone up into Port Frederick the day before and reported seeing a lot of feed and whales and fish on the screen, but he didn't catch anything. If he didn't get a fish, I was quite certain I wouldn't, but I needed to try out the gear anyway, so I ran on up. Always, in the back of my mind there is that fantasy that somehow, against all odds I'll do what countless others before me have failed at- I'll catch the mother load of King Salmon. I'll be all by myself, pulling fish after fish- and not just little guys either, they'll be what my friend Bunny used to describe as Slabs! I'll be circling on the school, smiling from ear to ear, giddy as I think of how I will describe in detail how I happened to stumble upon the school, and how, no matter what I put before them, they bit ferociously. Of course it didn't happen. I dumped in the gear on the other side of Midway Island and spent the next four or five hours trolling aimlessly around the bay looking for signs of feed or fish. Obviously there was feed around. There were probably eight or ten Humpback whales and dozens of porpoises, plus seagulls and other fish eating birds, but I didn't get a strike. The most excitement I got was when I was trying to get a picture of one of the whales and another one made a beeline for the boat. I had to gun it to keep from tangling my float bags on him. God knows what kind of damage that would have created. I tried to get some pictures of the porpoises as they dived in front of the bow, but they were too quick. By the time they surfaced and took in a puff of air and I got the camera focused, they had already disappeared. The best I could do was to get a shot of the wake  left as they rocketed down below. I've been fishing for so long, and with much of the same results, that nothing that happens is a surprise. This time was no different. When I was still tied up to the dock there wasn't a breath of wind. In front of town the water was a smooth as a mill pond. When it's like that I always get sucked in to going out and drowning a herring or two. Once I made up my mind to go drag around for awhile, there was no stopping me. I took off and started up the bay. About half way up a little breeze started in. The farther I got the windier it was and it wasn't like a nice tropical breeze. It was more like an approaching arctic front. Of course I had to go outside to set the gear, and since it was my first trip of the year I needed to get everything set out, so it took quite a bit longer. I was standing in the cockpit untangling lines with my frosty breath polluting the air and hands the color of tomato soup. Lordy be it was cold! It was then that it hit me- there's a very good reason I don't go fishing this time of year, I'm too much of a whimp. While in years gone by I might have beat myself up for being so fragile, now I can just use my age as an excuse. Who says there's nothing good about getting old?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN



  I was very angry last night. I was watching The Kelly Files on the Fox news channel. I know, I know, some people will say " Well no wonder, you're watching Fox news." Unfortunately the regular news channels don't bother to give the news as it is. If any news is given, it's bathed in whatever liberal light can be shed upon it. So much of what passes as news nowadays is nothing more than a feel good story. I'm all for feeling good. I wish the whole world was full of feel good stories. I'm not saying that there is nothing good happening in the world, there is, and it's nice to bring it to light, but unfortunately, there's an awful lot of crap going on out there too and it also needs to be reported on. The story that got me so upset last night was the CEO of Mozilla being fired for supporting an amendment a number of years ago in California banning gay marriage. As was pointed out, when Barrack Obama was running for president he was opposed to gay  marriage too. Didn't keep him from getting elected- twice. It might not have bothered me so much if it weren't for the ongoing dishonesty, deceit, lying and outright sinful nature of not only this administration, but most if not all of congress. The people who were elected to run this country are leading us into a pit of moral decay such as  has never been seen before, and we are embracing it and even encouraging more. America is on a downward spiral and I'm scared for this country. We used to be the standard that other countries aspired to be like, now we're an example of how not to be. What is being passed off as enlightenment and freedom is nothing more than an excuse to abandon our moral bonds and do whatever we want because it feels good and consequences be damned. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. I've said it before and I'll say it again- there is a law of sewing and reaping. Just as you can't plant potatoes and grow cucumbers, neither can you plant the seeds of sin and reap God's blessing. As the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville said, "America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great." Ask around. Is America still great? I'm having a hard time believing it is.
    MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN - Those familiar with the book of Daniel will recognize those words. They were written on the plaster wall by the hand of God while the grandson of the great Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was drinking wine from the goblets taken from the temple in Jerusalem in an act of defiance against God Almighty.  When the king saw the hand, his face turned pale and his knees started knocking together. Everything was fun and games up to that point. Everything was fine until it wasn't. Daniel was called in to read the words because all the wise men and soothsayers in Babylon couldn't. This is what the words meant- God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. You have been weighed on the balance and found wanting. Your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and the Persians.  That night, the king was killed and his kingdom was taken over. God is patient beyond what we can imagine, but he won't be mocked. Increasingly in America those who want nothing to do with the Lord are demanding that any mention of him in public places be removed. For the sake of political correctness people are not speaking out against what historically has been an abomination, be it gay marriage, abortion or lying for the sake of an election. For crying out loud,  half of all marriages in this country end in divorce! At what point will God say to us, "You've been weighed on the balance and found wanting."
   I've shown the pamphlet in the second picture which depicts a Christian church in Africa which was bombed. Not because of anything that the people did wrong, but because they were Christians. We haven't gotten to that point in America yet, but we're on the way. We don't want to hear bad news. We don't want to believe that what we're doing is wrong. We don't want to listen when someone  points the finger and says what you're doing is immoral. Like the frog in the pan of  water on the stove, we don't notice the heat until it's too late. God says," Woe to him who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness." We're entering into some pretty scary times. We can turn things around if we want to. We don't have to go the way of the Babylonian empire. God doesn't want us to. In the book of Ezekiel he states " For I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, therefore repent and live."
  As those who know me can attest, I'm not a preacher, a teacher, an apostle or a righteous man. I'm just an American man who is scared for this country and the direction we're headed. Lets get back on the right path and see America blessed again.