Stardate 11411.8

Captain's Log: Stardate 11411.8
I swear to you all.... I'm just about ready to snap. This winter has been the worst in as long as I can remember. I mean, seriously, will you look at what it's doing outside? -- Right now!

7-12 inches expected for Westchester County by tomorrow morning. I'm working from my dining room table. My car is parked on a snow bank leftover from the last two storms. They say kids may have to start going to school on Saturdays to make up for all the snow days this year. I'm cursing so fucking much, I could be misdiagnosed with Tourette's.

Global warming? Ha! There's even ice in Atlanta. As far as I'm concerned, especially after the last few weeks, the entire premise is debunked so much that I'm ready to punch Al Gore in the face.

In the face.

I'm just saying... don't be surprised if one Fall, instead of bringing the Enterprise to be hauled at the yard for winter storage, we head towards the Caribbean and NEVER EVER COME BACK.

I've read books about this. How much money you'll need, where to go, how to leave it all behind. In normal situations, you think to yourself it's crazy, you can't leave your family and your career.

But this isn't fucking normal anymore.

It may be hard to convince my wife, but she may adjust once already there. First pack everything into the car, then head to the boat and then, let's see... "Honey, does this dish towel smell like Chloroform?"

I know I should calm down. I know, in 11-12 weeks or so, we'll be back to this:

So, I'll do my best to forget about the storm. I'll think about the days ahead -- cruising to Port Jefferson, fireworks in Hempstead Harbor and racing in EBYRA (assuming it doesn't continue to implode.)

But, as a precaution, it was a good move by my wife to hide all the knives that were in the kitchen.

Stardate 11409.0

Captain's Log: Stardate 11409.0
The new year started off pretty routinely -- at home watching Ryan Seacrest's ball drop, an afternoon at the New York City Boat Show at Javits, a few days attending meetings and poker tables in Las Vegas, followed by the annual Starship Super Bowl Trektacular at our home -- but with a few differences.

The highlight of the last month was, believe it or not, the boat show. And no, there weren't any sailboats there. And yes, it did get even smaller. But, there were a few booths that I wanted to stop at, including some refrigeration companies, West Marine (who wasn't even there!) and Raymarine.

Why Raymarine? Two reasons: 1. I wanted to price out new autopilots to eventually replace the Robertson unit on the Enterprise that is so old that I think the Enterprise had to go back in time to the 1920s in order to get it installed; and 2. Find out about the wireless repeater that I've been hearing stories about when people use their TackTick instruments (now owned by Raymarine) on masts that are over 50 feet.

And, of course, the Enterprise's mast is over 50 feet up.

Here's the issue: The beauty of the TackTick (now Raymarine) system is it's own WIRELESS network. That means no wires between the transducers and the instruments and no wires between the solar powered mast wind speed/direction sensor and the instruments. For any of the log readers who know what it is like snaking wires down a mast, you can appreciate the technology and convenience. But, as I have been seeing on the Internet and email discussion boards, it's possible that if your mast is too high, the wireless signal won't make it to your instruments and you would need to add a wireless solar powered repeater midway up your mast.

Now, to be clear, we still haven't put the thing up there. We still don't know if the signal would reach or not. We don't know if we have a problem. I just wanted to find out what costs and work would be involved if we did have one. The Raymarine representative and I spoke for a little while, he showed me the solution in the catalog along with the few-hundred-dollar price tag -- which had me questioning: How important is it to know about wind on a sailboat anyway?

A week later, I'm sitting in my office and the UPS guy brings me a box from Raymarine, and inside, was the repeater unit along with an invoice marked $0.00 and a notation "solving customer complaint issues."

Wow! First of all, I wan't complaining. I simply said I haven't installed this part yet, that I heard I might have a problem and what do you sell to fix it? And boom! They send me the unit absolutely free! Raymarine, you now have a customer for life in me.

Then again, if they really wanted to solve all my "complaint issues" that box would have had a helluva lot more inside it than a wireless repeater.

Now the only left to do is climb the mast and install the parts.

Next was Vegas, and, amazingly enough, I don't have much to report. Meetings went well, the gambling was so-so and the highlight was a group trip to see Santana play at the House of Blues. I was there for five days, which, if you know about visiting Vegas, was about three days too long.

Then came last night's annual Super Bowl party at our home, featuring our new 73-inch HD television and enough pizza and chicken wings to get the Enterprise sailing flat in 40+. Joining Ellen and I were Ensign Ceaser, his wife Olga, Captain Dave and his son, Acting Ensign Dave Jr., whose voice changed and, I think, grew a foot since the summer. At 13 now, Ellen, Ceaser and Olga all marveled at how much he has grown in such a small period of time, yet only one thing came to my mind:

Winch grinder.

As fun as it was being with everyone, the Super Bowl game itself, to be completely honest, SUCKED. It was a beating that started a few seconds in and kept going and going and going for hours. I swear I think the Denver Bronco's mistook the coach's words, "It's the Super Bowl, the stakes are high" for "It's legal now, let's all get high".

Even Peyton was playing so badly that you could clearly see that Eli and Archie were wishing they were instead related to Bradley Manning (now known Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.)

And the world-famous Super Bowl commercials? Eh. With the exception of a couple of Doritos ads and the "Doberwawa", most everything else was as forgettable as the Broncos' defensive line. Even the teasers for the Transformers, Captain America and Spider-Man sequels had a yawn factor of 12.

Oh well. At least we can look forward to just three more months or so until the launch of the Enterprise - The countdown has begun!