First Times

Are always hard.

I still remember vividly every mistake I made during my first winter in Fairbanks, Alaska: having to change a tire at 50° below zero (-45°C), because I had not put enough air in it when it was warmer, and now, at minus 50°, the tire was so flat it had a flat spot, that would not allow the car to move.  Even with thick gloves on, I froze the end of my index finger.

That same winter, same car, I spent a week not being able to start it.  One night, walking the 5 miles to work at my first weather forecasting job, I almost froze to death.  I was so cold, when I finally got to the get at Ft. Wainwright, the gate guard took pity on me and called for a car to take me the last mile.

You have heard enough about our first Atlantic crossing and what we would do differently.

My first year of teaching was unreal.  Swimming across the Atlantic may have been easier.

Dauntless still has the dent in the swim platform from the first time I tried to back into a slip.

So, I find myself relishing the thought of the coming winter.

Why?

Because it’s the second winter for Dauntless in Europe and Ireland. I know what to expect; I know what to worry about and what I don’t have to worry about.

It doesn’t get simpler or easier than that.

I know that with Dauntless secure in Waterford, I can spend a bit more time in the U.S.; not only with Julie in N.Y., but also visiting other friends throughout the country and Europe.

A “Real Life of Reilly” A TV show that that as a young kid I found fascinating, why? It was about this foreign place called Brooklyn.  Reilly worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; which also says a lot about New Yorkers in that we are a city of neighborhoods.  Also, since I lived on the west side of Manhattan, it was out of sight.

Literally, my sight.

Had I perhaps lived in the Lower East Side (from which the Brooklyn Navy Yard is quite visible) maybe I would not have thought Brooklyn so foreign.  It did have Coney Island, which I was a frequent visitor.  But again, in those days, the train to Coney Island took the tunnel under the East River; so again, I missed my opportunity to the Navy Yard. (Nowadays, it takes the Manhattan Bridge, giving a wonderful view of New York (Manhattan), Brooklyn and even the Statue of Liberty.

OK, so back to the story.

I can also spend a bit more time on the continent, taking advantage of Ryan Air’s cheap flights, while I scope out some possible places for winter over next year.

Yes, the second time is great.

So while my second winter in Fairbanks, didn’t come for another 10 years, I knew to put 60 lbs. of air in the tires (double the normal amount) before winter started and the gas station air pumps all froze.

I also knew contrary to local wisdom, to start the car engine with no choke initially, otherwise it would instantly flood and I’d be walking for a week.

And in our second year on Dauntless, I know when someone asks me to back the boat into a slip to make it more convenient for them, I kindly decline.

So, I’m really looking forward to my upcoming second winter and second summer in Europe.

But after two, three starts looking the same as one and two.

So it’ll be time to reset the clock again.

Better to have a new first time; than a boring third time.

So just like that we start all over again.

 

 

 

 

The Cloud Passes Leaving a Beautiful Day in da Bronx

It was a short lived storm.

As I walked to the car, crossing Pelham Parkway, I really was struck by how pretty the Bronx is.

Pelham Parkway turning green
Pelham Parkway turning green

Now, I have been told by some about the Bronx, and working here for five years, and now living here, if only part time, I can certainly appreciate it, but still I’ve always had my doubts.

My friend Sam, a big Bronx booster and the only person I know who was born, raised and still living in the Bronx, would periodically rant and rave about its attributes.  But like most New Yorkers, I attributed it to a passing delusion.

But I always liked her enthusiasm and she was more right than I.  Sometimes I should listen better also.

As I got in the car, connected my IPod, that had been “lost” for the previous week, I also realized that that last night’s funk was as much about having to listen to NY radio for a few yours.  How such a big city can have so little choice in radio listening is simply pathetic.  We are such a big city, so there are no real “local” stations, but instead virtually every station is owned by some big corporation, run by the bean counters.

Sad to think that the place where playing rock albums on WNEW-NY actually started in the ‘60’s has now reverted to the planned world of a Disney Land.

So here is a song or two that works well on a sunny day.

wpid-screenshot_2015-05-03-17-36-28.png
And for those Double Bass Fans, Agnes Obel’s Aventine

One Republic's Counting Stars
OneRepublic’s Counting Stars

Snow, New York and My Father

Why am I so sad that I am going to miss this big NYC Blizzard?

I do like snow.  Why else would I have spent so much time in Alaska!

As a child, I remember waking up and listening to the traffic on West Street below our third floor window.  West Street was still cobblestones in those days and full of truck traffic, as the elevated West Side Highway kept most cars off the surface street.

Every once in a while, especially during January and February, I would awake to silence.  The snow muffling the noise of the tires on the cobblestones.

During one particularity heavy snow that occurred on a Sunday, my father had planned go to New Hope, PA, where his friend, the Sculptress Selma Burke, had a house and some land.  I loved going there.  It was always an adventure, with a little stream that had grass growing on the bottom that I was absolutely terrified of.

Selma, not our father, actually taught my brother (Peter, two years younger) and I to hunt.  We ate what we shot, the total haul being one woodchuck and one duck, but I felt sad for the duck’s partner and it was the last animal I ever killed.

But on this windy, snowy day, NYC had maybe 12” to 18” inches of snow and I declined going to New Hope, deciding instead to make my own adventure by taking the 10th Ave bus up to Riverside Park with my sled.  I did that, walking the mile to 14th to catch the bus that finally came and an OK day sledding.

When my brother and father got home that night, my brother regaled me with tales of blasting through large snow drifts and I was disappointed that I had missed out.  A bit strange that I did not go, in that I was the one who accompanied my father on all sorts of trips, in the city and out, never being too bored (sometimes my job was simply to sit in the car, while it was double parked, as my father found various electronic parts he needed).  My brother often found much of this time boring, and while at times I did also, I felt it was part of my responsibility in helping my father in any way I could and I liked seeing different things, going to new places.

There was only one other time, that my brother accompanied my father without me, and that was during the summer of 1972.  I had decided to stay in Seattle at the UW to attend this oceanography class that actually had us out on Puget Sound doing stuff.  But that summer, our father,  G. Lee Bost, was working on the last of his three Shaft movies, Shaft in Africa, so my brother got to go on location for a month, while I collected seaweed in Washington.  I was not as envious that time.  Africa did not sound that appealing to me.  Neither did our father by the way, who remarked that he was grateful to be born in the USA no matter how his ancestors got there.

Sadly, our father died in 1992, when I was 41 and it wasn’t until my forties that I started to see how similar I was to my father, in both good and bad ways. A gentle soul, loyal to his friends until the end of time.

But 20+ of snow is always fun in the City.  It’s especially interesting watching the MTA put those cable chains on the Articulated buses 24 hours in advance, so the cable are well worn or broken by the time the snow actually arrives.

February 2011 Snow Storm
February 2011 Snow Storm
20101226 Blizzard 007
Christmas 2010 Snow Storm This bus and the one in front of it sat for days
20110212 002
Julie and Sarah Enjoy the February Snow

 

Then the buses prompt get stuck after the first few inches in any case.

Articulated buses are only good to reduce the number of drivers and the quality of service.  Not much else.

But I digress.

I am truly sorry I am not there.  Had I been reading the forecast discussions like I used to, I would have had an inkling a few days ago and may have even flown home for the event.   Oh well, next time.

Nowadays, I look at the Atlantic Surface Analysis every day.  I like getting a feel for the weather and how it changes over time.  It will be during the winter that we will follow in Columbus’ tracks and take the Northeast Trade Winds back to the New World.

I did pull out Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes last night.

So many places to go and people to see.

A Walk in the Bronx & the New Squeegee Men

Or the Return of the Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee.

Bronx Greenway Mosholu Pelham System
Bronx Greenway Mosholu Pelham System

So no Dauntless news in this post. No news is good news., just me on my soapbox.

Woke up this morning and realized that I needed some exercise.  In Waterford, I walk a few miles a day, up and down the hill to the butcher and the two bakeries, one for bread and the other for a cupcake or other tasty treat.

Living in Manhattan, I was able to park the car within a block or so of our apartment, now in the Bronx, a half mile away is becoming commonplace, but we don’t use the car as much.  So, I’m actually walking far less. I decided to walk the green space from the Bronx Zoo, past the Bronx Botanical Gardens, pass the Bronx River and up Mosholu Parkway towards Van Cortland Park.

My dear friend Samantha, a real Bronxite, had told me about this path and how it is possible to walk almost half way through the borough in this green space.  Very nice; a month earlier the fall foliage would have been much prettier.

The Bronx River
The Bronx River

So as I am ambling down the path, the first thing I notice is the guy with the pit bull letting his dog shit in the park and no way is he picking it up.  Then a few minutes later, in one of the places where I have to cross the street, with traffic backed up getting onto the Bronx River Parkway, who do I see, but the new squeegee men.  They don’t have squeegees anymore, they don’t need them, as they have figured out, panhandling is even more lucrative than the extortion of trying to clean someone’s windshield.  So by staking out some spot where cars are bumper to bumper they can make their hundred dollars a day with little effort.

The Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee
The Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee

Now they are far less annoying, than the panhandlers on the subway who have been multiplying like cockroaches the last couple years. Every train now seems have at least one or two. The new Mayor has made it clear by his actions that he doesn’t care about the quality of life issues that made this City livable again under Giuliani and Bloomberg.  The cop on the street is being put into a no win situation. We had a good 20 year run, but as someone who watched the decline in the late ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s, I’ve seen this picture before and it doesn’t end well.

What most people don’t realize is that the City declined because at best 20% of all City workers were actually working (except the Firemen, who as always had a lot of work and who attract those men and women who actually wanted to keep busy. And if you doubt that, just look at the events of 9/11 and the 380 poor souls who gave their lives just doing the jobs they have always done).

A Police Station
A Police Station

No, the City was dirty, mentally and physically.  Burned out cars in the hundreds or more littered every poor neighborhood.  Every year crime got worse, and the politicians, wrung their hands, beat their breasts and lamented that there was nothing they could do.  In the mid 1980’s a woman was raped on 6Th ave in midtown.  Just a few feet from the sidewalk, in front of an office building in Midtown.  Not even late at night, but in the evening.  Unimaginable now, but it was commonplace then.  Murders, rapes, mayhem; that was the City by 1992.  Finally Giuliani comes along and changes the game.  He made everyone do their job.  Police started arresting folks, garbage men started picking up garbage and he actually took the City back from the Hoodlums and their ilk who terrorized everyone, most of all in poor neighborhoods.

But it starts and ends with small things.  In the past year, It has become impossible to ride on the subway, without someone with a voice of an opera star telling everyone how hungry they are and while they really want food, they will take cash, but no credit cards, yet.

So, on my little walk this morning these were the thoughts crossing my mind.  The saddest part, is the Mayor obviously cares about image more than results.  Stop and Frisk made our poor neighborhoods safe.  Safe for whom, the 95% of the good, hardworking people who live there.  Ask them if they want to stop it; not those blowhards who pretend to speak for them, but could care less.

Enough, thank you for listening.  It’s been on my mind for quite a while and while I feel powerless, I feel sometimes we just can’t give up without at least saying something.

The Bronx has turned out to be a really interesting and nice place.  My friend Samantha had made it clears how much this was a borough full of interesting, wonderful neighborhoods.  When she told me this, I never believed I’d be living here myself one day, but I am.  Full of many very diverse neighborhoods.  In our neighborhood alone, we have Albanians, Russians, Hispanics from all over South and Central America, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, Bengalis, Pakistanis, Arabs, some southeast Asians, northwest Asians and southwest Asians. And of course, there are still the Italians, Irish and Jews who were the bulk of the Bronx for over a hundred years.

Mosholu Parkway
Mosholu Parkway

I walked 5 miles, it was a wonderful morning and the beginning of a great week.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

A Wallace Avenue Apt Building
A Wallace Avenue Apt Building
Lydig Avenue
Lydig Avenue

Crimes Against Humanity

Remakes, sequels and other demonstrations of a total lack of imagination.

Poor June Allyson, Godzilla and even King Kong, at the mercy of those far stupider, less imaginative and certainly crueler than they.

Taking a respite from preparing for the challenges of the Atlantic and knowing that my cornucopia of hundreds of channels that I get on FIOS will soon be replaced with the wondrous, so 80’s, cable system of the Netherlands, I am enjoying some of my last days with TCM, Turner Classic Movies, one of the great accomplishments of the western world in the last decade of the 20th century.  I’ll miss it. In the Netherlands, I will have a nice assortment of some 30 channels, with even a few American ones, like Nat Geo and of course, American reality shows that prove while we can’t bring democracy to the rest of the world, we can give them bread and circuses.

So, I decided to watch “My Man Godfrey”, with David Niven and June Allyson. Another sad remake, and almost my definition, a failure because they are trying to depict a story that worked in the 1930’s, but 20 years later, seemed so out of place.  A world war will do that.

A pity to see someone like June Allyson, who always played such a brave, dutiful air force wife, relegated to the role of a brainless heiress.

Almost as sad as seeing King Kong and Godzilla put in roles in which they have no place.

Now, Eva Gabor on the other hand… a reminder of why I liked “Green Acres” so much.

 

 

Red Sky in Morning, Sailor Take Warning

Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Red Sky in Morning, Sailor Take Warning
Certainly true today.

20140121_071801_e 100th st

Looking forward to my last blizzard of the season, as I’m returning to Dauntless in two days. I have had a great time in NY with Julie and seeing old friends, but now, I’ve got things to do and people to see.

I look forward to sharing my travels and preparations with you, as I prepare Dauntless for this summer’s passage.