Monthly Archives: March 2015

Sailor Bird

Before we moved out of the SF Bay area, we went for one last sail on our friend’s boat, which we learned was called the Sailor Bird. We got some really nice winds, peaking at 22 knots apparent wind sailing at 90. We got up to a 7.1 knots maximum water speed which feels like flying on the water. There is something special about a monohull boat heeling over past 45 and rolling in the waves. I’m going to have to make sure that we keep sailing in the future.

You always know its windy on the bay when the fog is blowing past Alcatraz at noon

You always know it’s windy on the bay when the fog is blowing past Alcatraz at noon.

We missed 3 buoys by about a total of 20 ft. I was at the helm for only one of them.

We missed 3 buoys by about a total of 20 ft. I was at the helm for only one of them.

Obligatory Couple in boat picture with Jasmine and I.

Obligatory couple in boat picture with Jasmine and I.

Second Obligatory Picture of Scott and Mariiyn. If it looks like I was looking straight down at them while I took the picture it is because I was.

Second obligatory picture of Scott and Marilyn. If it looks like I was looking straight down at them while I took the picture, it is because I was.

We need to make a brochure for the Sailor Bird, and this would be the cover.

We need to make a brochure for the Sailor Bird, and this would be the cover.

La Brea Tar Pits (N34.06 W118.36)

We were down in LA visiting Jasmine’s brother and his girlfriend and, as they live in Hollywood, we had to go to the closest awesome tourist location – the La Brea Tar Pits. It is a set of natural lakes and ponds that are filled with water and asphalt (the “tar”) that has been collecting fossils from creatures unfortunate enough to get stuck in the tar for the last 50,000 years. So a large collection of animals, including thousands of dire wolves and saber-tooted cats as well as ancient horses who, as I just learned, originated in the Americas. And the tar preserves the bone so there are some very good specimens on display.

If you are in LA, I would highly recommend a visit; it is very cool. Just don’t breathe too deep as it smells pretty strongly of tar outside.

The tar pits are still active today. But since this is America they are completely fenced off, as noone wants to become the next specimen.

The tar pits are still active today. But, since this is America, they are completely fenced off as no one wants to become the next specimen.

We just had to do the tourist picture in front of the tar pits.

We just had to do the tourist picture in front of the tar pits. How often does a Mammoth photobomb you?

I the museum they have some awesome fossils, the murals however...  I mean these tigers are jacked.

At the museum they have some awesome fossils. The murals however… I mean these tigers are jacked.

The fossils were all in very good shape, and most of them were HUGE!

The fossils were all in very good shape and most of them were HUGE!

Everyone loves a saber-toothed cat. Here kitty-kitty

Everyone loves a saber-toothed cat. Here kitty-kitty!

Watercolors!

Occasionally, Jasmine’s lab makes fun of us for our house being a summer camp and occasionally I can see their point. I have been doing pen and ink drawings for a while and on Brooks’s (Jasmine’s brother who is an artist) recommendation, we started doing watercolors.

It is actually a lot of fun and some evenings we sit around and draw pictures; the only problem I have with it is that it is a big time suck. Before you know it, 3 hours have flown by.and you really need to cook dinner. So go buy a couple of brushes, a watercolor pan set, and some paper (Paper for watercolor is much better than standard printer paper.) and go have a fun time.

These are some of my paintings. I have mostly just been filling in pen and ink drawings for a comic type style.

A egyption stylised bird, the moon, and a beach in half moon bay I had lunch at last week drawn from memory - drawing in person or from a picture is much easier.

A Egyptian stylized bird, the moon, and a beach in Half Moon Bay I had lunch at last week drawn from memory – drawing in person or from a picture is much easier.

Smaug! From the Hobbit.

Smaug! From the Hobbit.

Some dice, drawn from Tyler and Mandy's wedding presents.

Some dice, drawn from Tyler and Mandy’s wedding favors.

Cross sections of fitting connectors.

Cross sections of fitting connectors.

Cutaway view of a Gas Generator. My goal is to be able to make old school technical cutaway drawings

Cutaway view of a Gas Generator. My goal is to be able to make old school technical cutaway drawings.

Sailing – Ian’s Yatch

A friend of ours just got an older sailing yacht and took us out for a day on the bay. He is new to the boat, so we stayed south of the Bay Bridge where the waves and tides are fairly benign. We got a good day for sailing: the winds we a fairly constant 12 knots after 2 pm and, thus, we enjoyed ourselves quite a lot. It is a much different feeling being on a 36 ft yacht than an 8 ft dinghy, but other than needing 2 or 3 people to run the rigging and the tiller, most of the sailing and pointing is about the same.

The ship, which I don't know the name of :(

The ship, which I don’t know the name of. :(

Ian at the helm

Ian at the helm.

I love the container ship unloading cranes.

I love the container ship unloading cranes.

And the Obligatory SF photo from the bay.

And the Obligatory SF photo from the bay.

Kite Fail

Usually we post about projects that we have built and used to at least some level of success. But we also have a fair number failed projects that never see the light of day. I thought I would share the most recent failure when I tried to build a largish kite.

I successfully built a kite a while ago and posted on it here with directions, so I have built a kite successfully, and this time I tried to make it bigger with nicer materials. I think my biggest failure was that the beams were fiberglass and not stiff enough and the frame lines were not tight enough. Also, the first time I tried to fly it, the tow line knot failed, so it required some field repair. I recommend bowline knots for the future. :)

Every time I tried to fly it, the kite it flipped inside out or upside down, and it was both sad and amusing. Back to the drawing board.

This is the earliest picture I have for the kite. Its a little wrinkly as I didn't trim the fabric very well.

This is the earliest picture I have for the kite. It’s a little wrinkly as I didn’t trim the fabric very well.

The awesome :) sewing job I did for the edge seemed to hold up fine for dozens of kite inversions and crashes.

The awesome :) sewing job I did for the edge seemed to hold up fine for dozens of kite inversions and crashes.

I don't know how the kite did this?

I don’t know how the kite did this!