Boats, Books & Lab Girl

“My lab is a place where my guilt over what I haven’t done is supplanted by all of the things that I am getting done”Lab Girl

This is as good a place to start as any.

After yesterday’s post, I felt I had done something if only to document what still needed to be done. It didn’t have the effect I had expected, instead of accomplishment, I felt intimidated.

Yesterday’s post was also different in that usually I write a draft, upload the photos I want, then edit the next day, add pictures and post. But yesterday, I was in a hurry and wrote and posted within an hour, with minimal editing, thus you can see how my mood changed even in the course of the writing as evident in the last line.

After a number of bright (only spotty rain), warm (temps in the 60’s) days here in the south and east of Ireland, yesterday dawned like a winter day, dark, cloudy, steady drizzle.  Actually, typical pre-warm frontal weather, the result of an inverted trough, the low pressure system being to the south and the warm front moving in from the ESE.

Dauntless is not my lab, but it is an instrument in that lab. It facilitates me being in nature, good or bad, hot or cold.

The worse the weather, the more I have this need to put my face into it.  Certainly having to go to the bathroom, to pee, every few hours drives the need to go out there and check the elements, though the phrase to hold on for dear life, has no exaggeration at that point.

I’ve been trying to determine the best way to talk, to write about books that have a profound influence over me. I know many of my readers like the boating adventures and may not care about my soliloquys about life. So if you have any suggestions that I can get to work with WordPress, email me. I have made some additional pages, but don’t like the look so far.

Though it seems I have a wide interest in things, that interest really revolves around two main cores, science and history.  Thus my interest in Paleoclimatology, a field that a number of times in my life I considered going back to school to earn a PhD.   The last time about 15 years ago when I had just started teaching, I had attended a symposium at the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR) on climate change. I was offered a very appealing opportunity, but having moved back to NYC for my mother, and having already given up a good job to do so, life prevailed.

But that Fate is what put me here now, writing this. Dauntless and I exploring the world at 7 miles per hour.

During the last month, I have been reading three books, all non-fiction, all three different, but amazing.  All three are fascinating in their own right and I have not finished any of them completely, I think in large part because I don’t want them to end:

  1. Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Philip H. Sheridan by Joseph WheelanSheridan

Having grown up near Sheridan Square I had a familiarity with Sheridan, yet realized I knew nothing about him other than him being a Calvary man doing the Civil War.  Then, just before leaving NYC this past March, I realized that the gold statue across from the Plaza Hotel at the SE corner of Central Park was also Sheridan.

So when I came across this book and in the opening pages was captivated by how much I did not know I knew I had to keep reading!  As obvious as it sounds now, Sheridan as Corps Commander, was the first to use infantry and cavalry as a combined weapon.

Also, the insights one learned about other personalities of the war, e.g. How effective Custer was, or how Meade although in total disagreement, when told by Grant to support Sheridan, actually did so, unlike so many other generals of the war who let their jealousies get in the way.

  1. Half Moon by Douglas Hunter about Henry Hudson who explored New York when he was supposed to be searching for the Northeast Yes, Northeast, as in above Russia, with a crew that spoke Dutch and he didn’t, in a boat only 20 feet larger than Dauntless.Hlaf Moon_
  1. And last, but not least, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. A beautifully written book by, and about, a woman who lives for science. Wonderfully written because of the language she uses and her ability to relate the mysteries and explorations of science in a profound and moving way for a layman.  Thus my opening quote.

Science is about making connections that most don’t or can’t see. Like science, my lists are more than lists of things I must do.  They are maps of things to learn and things to practice. It’s what keeps me awake at night. The puzzle in the sky that is multiple realities, that makes it rain on your side of the hill, but not mine. Or the three prong plug that can run two different lights. They seem different, but are the same.

Thanks for listening.


Amazon links to the above three books:






A Higher Call by Adam Makos – A Book that Lives Up to the Hype

Book Cover
Book Cover

I was skeptical at first, the hype being a bit over the top, but the book looked interesting, so I gave it a try.

What I liked immediately was that seldom do you get to read about World War II from opposite perspectives.  I’ve read a number of books by Germans and Americans, but this was really the first that juxtaposed the two adversaries over the shared incident.

Having lived in Germany for 4 years, and still having some dear friends there, I was interested in seeing it from the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) perspective.  Interestingly enough, this is one aspect that Hollywood depicted rather well in the Great Escape, which highlights the conflict between the Luftwaffe and the SS and Gestapo.  I think Stalag 17, did also, but I frankly don’t remember it as well.

Speaking of movies, two other must see WWII bomber films are Twelve O’clock High and Command Decision, both great movies that deal with both the aircrews and the commanders who must keep them going no matter what. If you have not seen those three movies, shame on you.  Since you (and I) did not live through it, it helps put our lives and our freedom in perspective.  Nothing valuable comes cheaply. I wonder if President Obama has seen them??

Moving on.

I liked the detail and it was clear that the writer, Adam Makos, did a massive amount of research for this book.  He has managed to write an engrossing story that is hard to put down.  You felt the fear and terror the aircrews went through.

In one gripping scene, our American pilot, only 20 years old and the Aircraft Commander, Charlie Brown, is taxiing his B-17 on a very foggy, dark morning, there are still two B-17’s in front of him, taking off at intervals of 30 seconds. As he gets close to the runway, they can hear the first bomber speeding down the runway, when all of a sudden they see this large yellow glow at the end of the runway and then hear the explosion.  Realizing that the plane just crashed and exploded on takeoff, they wait in stunned silence for instructions.  Within seconds, the word comes over the radio to continue takeoffs.  As they continue to taxi they see the yellow glow again of an explosion, this time higher in the sky, a midair collision.  One of the planes that just took off collided with another plane in the dense fog.  Within 2 minutes, three bombers and 30 aircrew are gone, just like that.

You’ll have to read the book for the rest of the story, but suffice it to say, you will not be bored and maybe you too will come away inspired and thankful.


Reflections on a Sunny Sunday, a Book and a Korean Drama

First the Drama.  I just finished the 30 episode Korean drama, King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo.

Why I liked it:  It has the typical themes, which I really admire:  team work, loyalty and hard work. The ubiquitous, but trite romantic triangle and an ending, which frankly, in trying to be different, was just plain stupid.

But in spite of the ending, I liked this drama because of its constant theme about teamwork, not holding grudges and most of all, being positive no matter what, really touched me.  I have never been much of a grudge holder.  I’ve always forgotten over slights and insults quickly (I usually forget) and most importantly, I strive to never have negative thoughts.

And I realized that I have always tried to live my life that way, without negative thoughts.  Just knowing that I always strived to do the right thing for those I was responsible for.

So when your life is wonderful, there is no point in holding grudges against those who have wronged you.  A lesson well learned and this drama is an enjoyable way to remind yourself of that goal.



I’ve talked about this book before,  but much like the Korean Drama above, the real lesson about looking forward and being positive.

Steady As She Goes by John Malloy

Why I liked it:  His descriptive detail of the maritime industry and world trade of the late 50’s.

I felt I was going back in a time machine, it’s that well written.  Starting out as a young 18 year apprentice we see him grow through storms, exotic ports and romance.  We see the world of the late 1950’s and into 1960 with the election of the first Irish President, JFK.

Counties as varied as England, Malaysia, Japan, India and the South Pacific, we see a world far removed from today.  11,000 tons of ore being loaded by hand, families spending weeks onboard to unload or load a ship full of grain or iron ore one bucket at a time.

It’s a wonderful snapshot of the world 50 years ago.  His detail of the US Deep South, the Irish crew’s reaction to Jim Crow and his growing admiration for the people and culture of Japan.

Lastly, It’s a love story:  with the sea, his comrades and the love of his life.


Reflections through Books, Moves & Music

Reflections through Books, Moves & Music

I have decided to start another blog that focuses on books, movies and music.  Not all books, music or movies, no, just the few that really touched me and I think will be of interest to the readers of my blogs.

This will help me to keep the Dauntless blog more focused directly on the adventures and shenanigans of Dauntless and its intrepid crew.

So here is the link, to Reflections through Books, Moves & Music,