Some pictures from the first part of 2017.
New drums! Jake loves the Kayak! Renovation phase one complete for Valhalla! And the best fucking sunrises and sunsets on the face of the planet!
New drums! Jake loves the Kayak! Renovation phase one complete for Valhalla! And the best fucking sunrises and sunsets on the face of the planet!
Hi – my name is Jacob but you can call me Jake! Dad told me I am 5 months old today. I was born on April 15, 2016 and for the first 4 1/2 months of my life I lived on a ranch in Florida. My Mom’s name is Ruby and my Dad’s name is Tried and True. What a weird name – but Dad told me that’s becuase my Dad is a tri-colored Tibetan Terrier which is pretty cool.
When I lived on the ranch I was with other dogs and these funny looking miniature horses. I lived outside and had lots to explore and other dogs to play with. When Dad brought me home I was like ‘Whoa – what in the world just happened!’ But it’s cool now because I really like living with Dad in our little house on the beach.
I’m still sort of getting used to my new life. Mostly I just hang with Dad. We take two long walks everyday and I get to go to the beach and that’s pretty cool. I love Dad rubbing on me and playing on the floor in the living room with my toys. There is some stuff I don’t like – loud noises and car rides top the list. But no matter what Dad is always there and is very patient while I grow up.
Dad says I am his new best friend. I like the sound of that! He told me that he has had a lot of best friends and of all of them I am most like Sammy. The big difference is that Sammy used to love riding in the car. I am getting a little more used to it – we’ll see.
So I am still trying to figure all of this out but mostly I really like living with Dad in our little house on the beach. I got this huge backyard to explore and Dad’s always there with me. Life is great!
Hi everybody, my name is Buddy and I died on July 16. Apparently there was something wrong with my heart even though I never knew anything. My Dad told me a couple of days before that I was 5 months old now and a fine young fellow. I was just a puppy so I was not sure exactly what that meant but I know that my Dad must be very sad right now. I never really knew what sad was because the time I spent with my Dad was awesome.
So I am here now to tell Dad that everything is OK. You were a good Dad and my whole life revolved around you. You always took time to play with me and I know you always tried to be patient with me.
I learned to love our walks, time at the beach and the time at the dog park where I was making new friends. I loved it when you put me on your belly in the bed and rubbed me all over. I loved it when you put the welding glove on and let me fight with you.
I loved it when I got to run around like I had lost my mind in the backyard and came into the house with dirt head to toe. I loved that you took me to see your friends like Rick & Myhra and Robin & Kathy and their kitties, chickens and ducks. I loved it when you took me for car rides, held me in your lap, let me sniff the wind and throw my head back for kisses.
I loved it that whenever you filled up your cup with ice you gave me a piece and I kicked it around the house. I loved it when you gave me treats. I loved it when you let me in the closet and I could drag out all of your shoes.
I know I was maybe a bad boy when I knocked the bowl of Spaghetti over a couple of weeks ago and you were mad – but you played with me after a couple of minutes and I knew everything was going to be OK. We had such good times together and I miss you.
Dad – I know you feel lost right now and I wish I was still there to let you hold me in your lap and brush me, lick your face and try and bite you when you weren’t looking. But I am not and that’s OK. Everything is exactly the way it supposed to be because otherwise it would be different. You didn’t do anything wrong.
I remember just a couple of weeks ago I was running around like a crazed monkey in the backyard – you were standing on the deck and you were smiling. But this is what you didn’t know – because I am a puppy and we have some special powers – I could sometime read your mind.
I know that day you were thinking how how much fun it was to see me so happy and that you hoped you would never take it for granted. Don’t worry – you won’t.
So I am now at the Rainbow bridge and the first dogs to meet me were Sammy, Annie, Max, LuLu and Spot. So we are now hanging out together and it’s really cool here. Lots of place to run around and play with the other puppies. There are beaches and big ass piles of dirt for me to dig it. I am OK and can’t wait to see you again. And it’s OK that you find another best friend.
Rest in peace my precious little boy. Our time together was brief and filled with the Puppy Dog Light. I’ll never forget the time we spent together and how very much you taught me to live in gratitude for each precious moment we have.
January 11, 2004 – February 4, 2016
Sammy was a Dokhi Apso – commonly called Tibetan Terrier or Tsang Apso – who was the love of my life and my best friend. He came into this life in Fort Meyers Florida. Both his parents were champions of their breed and he showed every bit of his lineage. A ancient breed – they are known to be their own dog.
On his first car ride on the way back to the airport we started to bond which would set the pattern for one of his favorite things to do – ride in the car!
Sammy often spent his vacations on the beach. One of the things he loved to do was find anything stinky to roll in. He wasn’t as fond of being hot so he regularly got haircuts to stay cool and comfy in the heat.
The breeder told me before I even picked him up that he was a ‘talker.’ Some Dokhi Apsos apparently were known to be very vocal and this was certainly true for Sammy – especially later in life.
Sammy just loved the bed and his bones. His core competency was sleeping and he did it every chance he got. He loved his bones – both to guard them from the other dogs and even chew them every once and a while.
He was a curious dog – always exploring the world around him. He wasn’t like other dogs as much as he wasn’t one to sit in your lap and lick your face – he was his own dog.
I was convinced from a very early age that he was a reincarnated buddhist monk from his homeland of Tibet. He would spend hours contemplating the nature of the universe and no one ever quite knew what he was thinking. His was an ancient breed and they primarily were temple dogs who spent their days with the monks.
While he did like to do some of the things that ‘normal’ dogs did he never had a keen interest in playing with toys, fetching the ball, etc. I always thought he never really saw the point in it but did it because the other dogs did.
Generally he was very well behaved and never really got in much trouble or mischief. But he had many sides to him and always took advantage of the situation he was in. He truly lived for the moment.
He was such a handsome boy! People would often remark what a beautiful dog he was. As he got older they couldn’t believe he wasn’t younger. He was truly a specimen and represented the best of his breed being from a champion mother and father. The breeder told me that I should breed him – he was champion material.
He always brought joy to my heart – he could be a clown in his own little world. Never jealous or resentful because he got less attention sometimes because of the other dogs. He was very territorial though and disliked mean or overly agressive dogs. He always would take a stand.
But more than anything – he was everybody’s best friend. He would always greet everybody like they were special but never demanded much more than a butt-scratch. He would always walk between my legs and raise his rear feet when he got a good scratch! He didn’t demand much more but always loved to be with his peeps.
He never demanded much from me – other than riding in the car! He loved to take walks and while he liked the beach well enough he was never as fond of it as my other dogs. Like most dogs – he mostly liked to sniff and hopefully find a tasty treat (the grosser the better) or something to roll in. Boy did he like to roll in shit – the stinkier the better!
And did I mention how much he loved to ride in the car. Sure – most dogs do but for Sammy it became his obsession later in life. He loved both sniffing the air with his head out the window or lying next to me while I scratched him all over as we took our trips. He loved his scratches but was never demanding.
He was on this earth a wonderful 12 years and enjoyed ever moment being here. He always made me aspire to be the person he thought I was. He was always my dog from the beginning though and he ended up being the love of my life. Well – he never was really my dog – he was his own dog but I got the honor of sharing this lifetime with him. I treasure the moments we had together.
Sammy enjoyed every moment of his life. He lived in the moment and never had a mean bone in his body. Everybody that knew Sammy loved Sammy. He taught me so much I was always be grateful and humbled for my time with him. It was truly an honor to be part of his life here. I know that he will live on in my memories and somewhere out there he is on his next journey of wonder. I miss you terribly my friend – you really touched my soul.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….
Sammy & I were treated to one of the best sunrises recently. That motivated me to put together a video with some of the video and pictures of sunrises over the past ~14 months we have been living on the beach. Sammy starts the actions with some full-exposure wind-in-your-face happiness!
When I was young my Dad had a sailboat named Argo. He used to race on the weekends south of Cocoa Beach near the Eau Gallie and Melbourne Causeways. We would sail down on Friday afternoon and drop anchor near the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in the area near Sunset Harbor. We would sleep on the boat and race the next day. Often Dad would read us tales from greek mythology before going to bed. His favorite (and mine) was the tale of Jason and the Argonauts after which our boat was named. What wonderful memories of my Dad and my brothers! Just west of the harbor is what’s now called Dragon Point. The dragon – named Annie – wasn’t built until the early 1970s and has since collapsed. Rumor has it that the new owner of the property will rebuild the dragon.
Fifty plus years later I paddled the area in my kayak Serenity.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. It has been a busy Summer and I am back home for a while which feels good.
At the beginning of Summer I bought my first boat – a kayak that I have named Serenity.
I grew up here in Florida on boats that belonged to the family or my friends but I never truly had a boat that was mine. As a kid we would spend hours (seemed like days) in our boats exploring the waterways of the natural and man-made islands in the Indian River lagoon. As I got older I learned to waterski and spent many a morning before school skiing after my paper route.
So far I have been out a couple of times in my old home town of Cocoa Beach – in the places I used to spend days when I was a kid – in the ocean right up the road from me where I am now living, and a number of times in Panama City when visiting my family.
Over the July 4th weekend I traveled back to Atlanta to attend the 80th International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I went and stayed with my friend Mike. The convention was attended by over 57,000 people from all over the world. I met many of my friends from Atlanta, here in Florida and others I have met along the way in my own journey of recovery. I also made many new friends from all over the world. Happy, joyous and free indeed!
I rekindled an early love of SCUBA diving and underwater photography this Summer. I learned to dive growing up here while attending Brevard Community College (now called Eastern Florida State College) in 1974. I have done a lot of diving and have done it consistently since then although I tapered back over the past 15 years being distracted elsewhere.
I bought (and still own) my first underwater camera while going to college in California. It is a Nikonos II which was one of the very early amphibious cameras made by Nikon. While living in Europe I upgraded to a Nikonos V which was with out a doubt the most popular underwater camera ever made. I sunk thousands into these rigs only to have them made obsolete with the coming of digital cameras.
In my humble opinion there is still no amphibious digital camera that lives up to the quality and versatility of the Nikonos series cameras and (most importantly) lenses. However, there are a lot of great housing that work with very good digital cameras. I am also glad I waited until the advent of the mirrorless digital camera systems which are substantially smaller and very high quality as compared to the very popular DSLR.
I had been looking at the Olympus OM-D series mirrorless cameras for a while now and when they upgraded the E-5 to the E-5 Mark II there were some great deals on the E-5 with the Olympus housing. At the same time I had to upgrade my underwater strobe to take advantage of the fiber optic based triggering so I purchased a Sea & Sea YS-D1 to replace my old Ikelight Ai-n strobe. It’s a fraction of the size of my old strobe, very easy to setup and works really well. I have made 6 dives with the rig so far and slowly getting the hang of shooting with it.
My first local dive trip after moving back to Florida. I went out with the dive charter ‘Narcosis’ out of Riviera Beach. It was also my first mixed air dive after getting certified in late May. Finally, it was also the first dive on my new camera rig. I didn’t quite have my camera settings right but I did manage to get some good shots. We dove in the morning on two spots – Breakers and Bath & Tennis. Both names are from landmarks on West Palm Beach where the dives are located. I missed the first reef since I was not paying attention messing around with the camera. I did come across a turtle on the first dive. the second dive was my best so far this Summer where there were ton’s of fish and pretty nice reefs.
I dove in Panama City while visiting my Mom for my birthday. I went out with Panama City Diving dive charter on the ‘Steel Slinger.’ I had dove Panama City in the 1990s and remembered it as a pretty bad couple of dive with almost no visibility. This experience was much better. We dove on two wrecks about 12 miles offshore – the Chippewa and a wreck on what’s knows as Mac’s Reef. Both were in about 100 feet of water. The visibility on the second dive was a bit better than the first – maybe 40 feet. There were huge schools of fish on both wrecks. On the second wreck I saw my first Goliath Grouper.
My last dive was back at West Palm Beach – this time with Paul Walker’s dive charter on the boat ‘The Wetter The Better.’ Unfortunately, there was an upwelling of cold water the day I dove which plummeted the water temperatures into the low 70s and reduced the visibility to between 10 to 20 feet. We dove on Shark Canyon for the first dive and the wreck Danny on the second. I missed the first reef (again) but managed to find a couple of good spots where there were fish and some other marine life. The second dive was a bust visibility wish but the wreck had maybe a half dozen Goliath Grouper living on it. I got some decent – and rather eerie – video of the grouper on the wreck.
I started back into my woodworking in the Spring and have completed a number of new projects. The first was a restart of a project I started some 3 or 4 years ago while still living in Atlanta. I was coming off a major project and had a lot of milled hardwoods of various types on hand. I glued up a bunch of them with the idea of building a large jewelry box as a gift. One thing led to another and the project got put on hold for a while. One of the glued up boards was even used as a cutting board for a period of time!
I restarted the project to make a nice big box for myself with lots of room for small personal items I have collected over the years in addition to the couple of pieces of jewelry I still own. I wanted to use dovetail joints on the construction so to get started I out making a simple oak box using my dovetail jig for practice. I quickly realized that it was not going to work on the jewelry box so I starting constructing i t using standard reinforced mitred corners.
At the same time I was given a fabric painting of an African drummer by my nephew Carl who has been living in Ghana working with the peace Corps the past two years (he is coming home next month). I started making a frame for it and wanted to try my hand at some simply inlay work. I extended that to the oak box I was building to add an interesting detail to it’s design.
Finally, my old friend Rik Thwaties had long ago given me a slate carving with the word Valhalla on it. I used it when I build my house in Colorado in the 90s but kept it when I moved twenty years ago. I finally made a simple wooden mount for it. So all in all I was working on four projects are the same time. Here are some pictures:
I made a couple of trips – one in July and one in August – to stay with Mom in Panama City. My brother Dave and his wife Lisa have been taking care of her for the past year and needed a break while they did some Summer traveling.
My brother Dave lives on a bayou that leads to St Andrew Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. He has always been a boater and now owns a small motor boat. I took it out several times on both trips and explored the bay and even went into the Gulf once. It was especially nice taking it out early in the morning when the wind was still calm and getting up on a plane in the calm waters.
For the trip in august I took Serenity and launched it from Dave’s dock to explore the bayou. I managed to get out 10 times in the two weeks I was there! The highlight was getting close to a very large container ship that was leaving the dock from the cardboard plant across the bayou from Dave’s house.
Finally, I turned 60 in early August while visiting my Mom. I am happy to report that I survived the episode intact and am now no longer a middle-aged idiot but instead a supremely serene senior (well – on a good day). Thanks to all that wished me a happy birthday on Facebook or with your cards. Especially a couple of wonderful friends that posted these shots.
The 6th Annual Super Boat Grand Prix was held on Cocoa Beach on May 15 through 17th. I went with my friends Robin and Kathy Turner to the monthly block party in Cocoa Beach on Friday May 15 which featured the boats, music and other activities. On Sunday the 17th I watch the first heat of the race from Shepard Park at the end of the 520 causeway in Cocoa Beach. There were thousands of people watching the races (and otherwise!) on the beach. Later that day after I returned home I caught the final heat where one of the boats did a barrel roll. The seas were very rough so it provided some spectacular shots of the boats sailing through the air!
Sammy and I spent the last three weeks in Panama City visiting with my Mom, Brother Dave and Sister-in-Law Lisa. Mom celebrated her 87th birthday on April 7th and is still going strong! I am blessed that I work out of the house now and can spend this time with her. She just moved into a new house near my brother Dave. I helped him out with some construction, painting, furniture repair and helping her hang pictures in the house. I was able to go with her to Church and celebrate the Easter season which I enjoyed very much. I am looking forward to spending two or three weeks every couple of months up there with her.
Newly painted front porch
My childhood friend Robin and I had a band in high school with our friend Marc Baldini. We were known by several names (mostly to us) but the one that stuck was Dark Star. In our senior year the three of us also formed the rhythm section of the high school stage band.
Fast forward 42 years later! When I moved back to Florida last summer Robin and I started practicing again with our eye to reform the band. We have been having fun playing songs by Yes, Allman Brothers, Steven Wilson, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath!