December 24, 2013

Merry Crustacean

One of the great things about Christmas is the wealth of iconic symbols that have come to be associated with the holiday - jolly old Santa, wreaths of holly leaves, the Christmas tree - even a team of smelly reindeer.

It's just not Christmas until plastic recreations of these symbols, painstakenly produced by the thousands in the sweatshops of Asia, start popping up in shop windows and on the front lawns of suburbia all across America. I get weepy and nostalgic just thinking about it.

But none of these symbols says Christmas, of course, more than the bright red Dungeness Crab. You can hang your stockings by the chimney with as much care as you like, but at our house, the Christmas season hasn't really arrived until a couple of two-pounders are in the kitchen sink.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Many prefer the traditional pile of oysters for their yuletide meal. This too has become a staple in many parts of the country at Christmas:

And some eccentrics in places like the midwest even savor a Christmas ham or turkey. I guess there's no accounting for some tastes.

But I hold some traditions dear. In their universal acceptance, I find strength. A plate of sweet Dungeness crab by the Christmas tree

and I feel confident that no matter how this world is wracked by strife and upheaval, that some solid core values will endure.

Merry Crustacean, everyone.

August 1, 2013

Where The Heck Have I Been?

I know I've hardly blogged at all this past year, so, by now, the sound of crickets chirping is more the norm than percolating posts here at O Dock.

But, in the past month or so, I've also abandoned my usual blogging haunts.

Not only have I stopped reading the blogs of my online friends, but I've ceased leaving those brilliantly annoying, often alliterative, and generally irrelevant comments for which I've been so often taken to task.

I know what you're thinking - finally, we've gotten some peace from this idiot.

Well, true, but I think I owe some explanation to folks who have supported this blog over the years.

Lately, I've been having some health issues which have demanded my focus and which have left me in less than jovial spirits. I still have no idea what's wrong (physically, that is) and am working with some doctors to get the answers.

I've never thought personal health matters to be appropriate subject matter for a sailing blog or even a pseudo-sailing blog like this one, unless they were closely tied to sailing or pseudo-sailing itself, so I'll spare you the tedious details.

Hopefully, I'll be back up and dancing again soon and you'll again be made to endure that endless hailstorm of snide that has left a funny taste in the mouth of so many hapless blog readers over the years.

For now, enjoy the quiet while you can.

April 7, 2013

Where Am I?

This one should be a good puzzle. The location where this photo was taken isn't visible via the Google Street View (at least I just checked and I couldn't see it), so you'll have to rely upon something other this time.

Here are your clues:

During the time that this boat made its most notable voyage, the water around it certainly wasn't stagnant.

It's old. Elements of it date back to before the second world war, and its history is richly intertwined with the narrative of its native land. It's one of over 100 vessels known for having plied the same waters, but there's something unique about this one.

Its current location is close to the beaten path but only a few locals know it's there.

The challenge is in three parts:

- What's the boat's name?
- What's it famous for?
- What is its current location?

So there you go. Have fun.

Mitch made me do it.

March 31, 2013

What's Wrong With This Picture?

What's wrong with this picture?

And what the heck is going on here?

March 26, 2013

Our Father, Who Art In Heaven...

hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be don...

.....wait a minute. What kind of church is this? They're serving coffee and scones...

This whole town is very confusing.

Look at the goofy architecture...

People leave their bicycles parked everywhere...

They go to dark places like this...

to drink dark beer like this...

and eat strange food like this...

But, most confusing of all are the silly boats scattered everywhere, with no sails and no oars again, just like at that other place I blogged about last week. Everywhere I go in this strange land, there are these silly boats...

Could this be that place almost like heaven, that Tillerman was babbling on about?

If it is, why is everyone bundled up in wool hats and coats and blankets? Maybe he just means this is the place that frostbiting must have been invented.

March 23, 2013


Who was to this manor born,

but requested that he be buried in this rural churchyard grave?

March 17, 2013

Camera Trouble

My travels continue through the curious place I mentioned in the last post.

But there seems to be a problem with my camera now. Every photo has this white, dusty stuff spread across the frame. No amount of cleaning will eliminate it.

Below is a view of the river. They seem to fancy (see, I'm learning the local language) these shallow boats a lot. But I have no idea how they're propelled. There are no proper oarlocks (which they refer to as 'rowlocks'), no sails, and no motors attached.

And I couldn't suss  out by observing just how the boats are driven, as for some reason no one was using the boats today.

I wonder if any readers can figure out what town this is. There's a major university here. JP attended a major university which he said was not the one here. He described his university as nearly heaven on earth, and kept referring to this as 'the other place'.

I always thought 'the other place' was filled with fire and brimstone, but that is decidedly not the case here.

Update, sometime a little later:

Well, now this duck has appeared on the dock, and doesn't appear to be able to get comfortable. It's buried its head under a wing and seems to be waiting for things to improve. I assure you it's not dead, but merely sleeping. Lovely plumage.

March 15, 2013

Where Am I?

A few days ago I began a long trip involving planes, trains, automobiles, and quite a bit of walking, too.

Twenty-four hours later, I arrived somewhere, but with all of the connections, I've sort of lost track of where I am, so maybe my readers can help me figure that out. Here are some photos I snapped while wandering around in a daze yesterday.

The strangest thing is that I nodded off somewhere along the way and dreamt I had a beer in a pub with gonzo Ozzie journo Buff Staysail. He bent my ear about how he writes all of the posts for world-famous travel blogger, Captain JP, who Buff claimed is not an actual person at all. The peculiar things that extended travel does to one's mind.

This must be the debtors prison. It has big fences and walls all around it and everyone was saying that none of the prisoners have worked a day in their lives.

The prison is very heavily guarded. The guards wear funny hats and march around a lot. They must not be very reliable guards because they are constantly being changed out for new guards.

This is a place of very sly irony and understated humor. The gates of the debtors prison are elaborately decorated and covered with gold - which must have been paid for by people other than the inmates, none of whom, remember, have ever worked for a living.

More gilded irony in front of the debtors prison.

They have the world's laziest pelicans here. Most pelicans have to work pretty hard for their dinner, tracking fish and diving down quickly from great heights to catch every single fish they eat. These pelicans just open their mouths and expect someone to throw food in. But, they were close to the debtors prison, so maybe they've learned how to feed themselves without working from the prison inmates.

The people here must not have a very good sense of time. They've had to put up this enormous clock tower with a loud, annoying set of bells that ring - get this - every fifteen minutes. I have a cheap, Chinese clock at home that plays the same song. You'd think if they were going to the trouble of erecting such a big clock tower that they could have come up wih something more original for the bells to play.

Everywhere you go here, there are monuments and statues of dead people. I think whenever someone dies, they immediately build a monument and put up a statue.

They seem to like fancy bridges and peculiarly shaped buildings here. I have no idea why, but I've been here only two days, so still have a few things to learn. Buff Staysail didn't explain everything to me in that dream I had.

If anyone has any idea where I am or why everything is so strange here, I could use some help.

And oh, I almost forgot - you're not going to believe how they drive here, but that's for another post.