Here are some trees and some road and some sun, from a few days ago. The daily tree is among them.
Arthur had more problems with the boat rail while I was at work. Big problems. Our second repair to the bottom-end pulley failed much more catastrophically than the first – the boat is okay, Arthur is okay, but we have some work ahead of us.
More later. [daily log: walking, 3km; retailing, 8hr]
If I Were Called In To ConstructAnd I should raise in the east
A glass of water
If I were called in to construct a religion
I would start with opposition.
Pick an established faith, like Larkin's Water,
and attack it as insufficiently aquatic.
I would bewail the drowned
and blame Larkin;
and gather an army and make war
upon the Larkinians,
kill them, seize their Larkwives
and their Larkine.
I would establish the Holy Romarine Empire,
crown my good with brotherhood
from land to shingly land.
Scorch my enemies and parch my friends.
After that comes expansion, missionaries,
elaborate ritual, green-and-purple robes,
High Holy Days to mark the fullest tides.
Then a long period of decline
as theologians bicker over
increasingly crumbling minutiae
and ordinary people live by
a calcified version of the once flowing spirit
(stalactites, coral, ice)
when I will walk the beach, with all the stiffness of age —
as the breakers come and keep coming
bowing before the land like heretics —
and contemplate Mystery, salt and unsustaining.
- Adam Roberts (British author and poet, b. 1965)
This tree provides double the usual tree-type entertainment.
I got up extra early and Arthur and I attempted to repair the broken cable pulley at the base of the boat rail. I say “attempted” because I learned that later in the day, Arthur attempted to operate the trolley and the pulley broke again. I came home and found that the eye-bolt we’d used at the base was clearly inadequate to the task.
Meanwhile, I went to work and had an unexpected success: I got the video security camera system working. Apparently, that system has not been working for 12 years or so. Jan said, jokingly: “Impressive, but don’t let that success go to you head.” Fair enough. It was just trial and error, mostly – it turned out the power source for the cameras was faulty, and I solved it by “hijacking” the power source for the recorder box. [daily log: walking, 4km; retailing, 6hr]
Last week, Jan gave me a Daikon – which is a vegetable popular in China and Korea that resembles a radish.
On Thursday, I made some danmuji (단무지), which is a Korean-style pickled daikon that is a ubiquitous dish in Korean restaurants, often in a jar or on a plate at every table in cheap hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I used to call them “atomic pickles” because of their bright yellow color.
Well with the daikon Jan gave, and my earlier success with radish pickles and cucumber pickles, I decided to attempt some authentic danmuji. I found a recipe, and made some.
It actually came out pretty good. The yellowness comes from turmeric, which has allegedly been linked in recent years with lots of health benefits.
Arthur even ate one.
This morning, we took Alan to the airport in Klawock and he headed back home. These are two masked bank-robber brothers at the tiny Klawock airport terminal at 6:15 AM.
Yesterday, we were very lucky. We’d gone in, in the morning, to fetch the boat from the boat service shop. Everything in town went very smoothly. We launched the boat without problem at the public launch, and I drove the Blueberry with boat trailer back home while Alan and Arthur navigated the boat back home. It wasn’t too windy, though it was sporadically rainy.
I got home before they arrived at the dock. I paused my efforts to park the boat trailer – a pretty complicated set of maneuvers involving backing the trailer into position – and ran down to meet them at the dock. I helped get the boat temporarily docked, and then went up to operate the trolley to lower it into the water to get the boat out of the water. We’d timed our trip to town to correspond with the high tide, with this transition in mind.
As the boat trolley was lowering, the pulley at the bottom of the rail snapped off. This was alarming. But it was very, very lucky – because my first thought was: what if the pulley had snapped off after we’d put the boat on the trolley and were raising it out of the water? The cable could have flown around with much more force, for one thing – possibly injuring someone standing nearby. For another thing, the boat and trolley would have been liberated from their cable, and would have rolled without brake or restraint back into the sea. Would we have been able to stop it? No.
That was the first element of luck.
So we paused in our efforts to fetch the boat out of the water. We’ll have to wait for: a) a low tide so we can inspect and work on the lower end of the rail, where the pulley attaches, and b) a chance to go into town to buy a new pulley and whatever other hardware is needed to repair the cable attachment.
Later I went up to finish parking the trailer, I was on the final leg: back the trailer into its slot near the water cistern. And… the left rear wheel came off the trailer. Literally, it just fell off onto the ground.
This was, needless to say, alarming. I stopped my efforts to maneuver the trailer, and Alan and I parked it off to the side of the parking pad by pushing it manually. It’s heavy – but not impossible to shove around with two people.
I was immediately struck by the sheer luck of this event: specifically, the wheel had not come off when the boat was on the trailer, in town. That would have been substantially more disastrous.
So twice, yesterday, Arthur was lucky. Alan pointed out that both failures were instances of a lack of ongoing maintenance. And for that, I feel I bear some blame – but it’s very hard to take on the tasks of ongoing maintenance within Arthur’s domain when: a) he never communicates what those maintenance tasks might be (he’s either forgotten them or he thinks of them but fails to share with me), and b) when he does decide to engage in maintenance, he gets highly annoyed and irritated with me, due to the fact that I don’t already know the procedures and so he insists that he will do it himself because I’m not doing it right. He doesn’t seem to have ever internalized the fact that I don’t actually know all his rules and procedures. Well anyway, that’s neither here nor there… ultimately, collectively, Arthur and I need to be doing more preventative maintenance, and we’ll have to work out how that might happen. This kind of luck can’t go on forever, right?
Today, I began the effort to repair the boat trailer. I removed the other rear wheel and then removed the “axle” – not really an axle, just a beam on which the two wheels are mounted. This will permit us to take the whole assembly into a mechanic in town and try to get the broken wheel repaired. That will have to happen on Monday at the soonest, however.
And we have to wait for a negative tide (not super common) to do the repair work on the boat rail. Meanwhile, the boat is going to have to wait things out, tied up at the dock, cultivating barnacles.
This tree is from my distant past. It’s there in the fog beside the road.
In fact, Arthur took this picture, from his car, as he followed my father’s car down the road in some tandem driving odyssey. That’s me looking out.
We had a long day today. One of those days when Arthur lives to the fullest his maxim: “Better to be lucky than to be smart.” [daily log: walking, 7km]
I read a short story just now, that I enjoyed. It’s… difficult. It’s speculative fiction, of a sort. It reeks of Borges and postmodernism and pays homage to the recent developments in neural-net “artificial intelligence” (GPT-3 – not yet intelligent, but definitely something new and emergent).
Give it a try if you want. This is not a recommendation (in the spirit of the story itself). The link: Tropic of Zamza
Tropic of Zamza is only a book. It contains many words—92,581 of them, to be exact—but it is, mercifully, only a book. Being only a book, it lacks the capacity to physically injure you. You should remind yourself of this fact regularly, in the event that you make the horrible mistake of reading it.
This tree is in Rockpit – featured before, I’m sure.
It was very windy in town today while I was working. The wind blew open the door of the store and damaged some merchandise. [daily log: walking, 3km; retailing, 6hr]
Arthur and Alan drove the boat into town, while I took the Tahoe with the boat trailer, so we could pull it out of the water. I took this picture of Arthur and Alan in the boat departing the dock. I was standing on the neighbor’s lot, and the picture prominently includes the burnt tree from the house fire last summer.
Driving into town, I saw a rainbow.
While in town, we saw another. [daily log: walking, 2km]
This tree has lots of moss.
Arthur announced that we would be taking the boat in for service tomorrow. As usual, the discussions about this must have happened in his head at some point without telling me. The military life: always be ready to jump when they say “jump.” [daily log: walking, 2.5km]
This is a tree but there are other trees which make distinguishing (or deciding upon) the tree more difficult.
I suppose it better fits in with my recent interest in capturing pictures that I could label “Alaskan Gothic.” Alan and I had taken a very long walk and this container is in front of the water plant at 5 mile. [daily log: walking, 11km]
This is a small alder.
A really hard day. I was tangling with Arthur multiple times over the accuracy of his memory versus mine. I really desperately try not to argue about it, but generally by the time I realize it’s going to be a point of contention, I’ve already declared what I think happened, and I’m just not sufficiently wishy-washy to specifically concede a point of my own memory that I have confidence in and that I’ve already staked a claim to.
Specific example: watching a TV episode this evening of the British series George Gently. Arthur asserted that my memory was faulty when I stated that I remembered watching the episode with him last year. He claims that since the episode wasn’t in his on-computer video library (iTunes) until he added it today, there’s no way we could have watched it last year. But he also utterly forgets that in the meanwhile, he completely deleted his video library on his external hard drive (by accident, last year) and subsequently rebuilt it. There were many shows and episodes on the previous version of the library that were “lost.”
Another difficult thing that happened: the house’s fire alarm went off, multiple times. We had no fires, nor even dust or smoke beyond anything normal. Just random stuff. Arthur got extremely angry when I asked him for the manual because I really wanted to turn off the fire alarm, but he had no idea where he might have one. The fire alarms were very loud, and the first time they went off it took 20 minutes to get them turned off (by uninstalling them from their ceiling mountings manually). The second time, we were able to do this faster.
I guess we have a problem. Alan asserts we’d best off going back to an un-networked, battery-powered set of fire alarms. The fact of their being networked makes it almost impossible to troubleshoot as a system. I’m inclined to agree.
I’m just feeling really resentful and angry, right now. [daily log: walking, 2km]
It being Thursday, we went to town to do the weekly shopping, as usual. But with Alan visiting, he came along too, and we ran extra errands and socialized with some people.
One thing we did was we went to visit Richard, who was working on his landing craft. It’s progressed a lot since I last got a tour last year (when I put in a day helping work on it), and obviously even more for Alan, who last saw it in 2017 when he visited up here.
Richard is installing a crane. So he built a shed over the front of it to cover the work area to weld the base area of the crane.
Looking around, I saw a view that felt like a nice addition to my “Alaskan Gothic” theme.
We also stopped by the gift shop, so Alan and Arthur met a few of my coworkers.
Finally, since today is supposed to be the last day of sun for a while (by the sometimes-not-so-accurate weather forecast), Alan helped me replace the tarp covering the GDC.