We Know Our Steam And Diesel, But What's A Mainyard For?
Just got a call from Andrew at the boat shop informing me my engine is back up-and-running.
Seems they encountered a number of unanticipated problems along the way, including: about five gallons of water in my fuel tank (from whence they can't tell - the tank itself isn't leaking, and the fuel cap seems tight, so they can only speculate that perhaps it leaked in through a vapor vent), there was a bunch of salt crud in the bottom of the tank which basically fried the electric fuel pump I had just had installed a few months back; and several of the fuel lines had been bent for no apparent reason.
I won't see the bill until I go in tomorrow morning, but one thing is for certain - it's going to put a big dent on my credit card account, probably to the tune of at least one "BOAT unit".
So, the Moms & husband arrived in town yesterday afternoon, and I kicked out of work a bit early to go help them unpack and settle into their new temporary digs. In typical fashion, she brought enough food to fill a normal-sized 'fridge (and freezer), along with enough cooking and dishware to outfit a small restaurant. "I just feel more comfortable using my own things," was her rationalization, despite the fact that their "apartment" already had a quite serviceable collection of kitchen items in-stock.
Dale is looking and sounding a lot better than the last time I saw him, nearly nine months ago, but in this instance, looks can be deceiving. When I went to shake his hand as I was leaving, he visibly winced at what I thought was a rather moderate grip; this from a guy who used to be strong enough to pinch bottle caps between his thumb and forefinger.
He goes in today for some orientation and paperwork, then starts the first round of testing tomorrow, which is supposed to keep him in the hospital for roughly two weeks, at which point the treatment will begin in earnest.
The idea, as my mom explained it, is to gradually sift through his blood for healthy cells (T-Cells it turns out, from a quick perusal of the Fred Hutch web site), which are extracted and stored until a sufficient quantity (something on the order of 30 million) are acquired to begin the actual treatment process. They are then re-infused, and the artificially increased population of T-Cells then targets metasticizing cells and kills them. Apparently this treatment has proven highly effective in limited clinical trials, and produces almost no side-effects compared to more traditional regimens such as chemo and radiation therapy. But, it takes about two months to harvest a sufficient quantity of cells, and another month to gauge effectiveness of the procedure, hence the need for the extended stay.
Which means, the local branch of the family may be spending Christmas this year in my neck of the woods for a change.
Turns out there's been a slight complication with the aprez-inking situation.
I went in to see Michael at the tattoo shop yesterday after work, because I was having some concern about the way the piece was healing up - or not as the case may be. Upon lifting my trouser leg to expose the area, the first thing he said was, "You have cats, don't you?"
When I replied in the affirmative, he explained the problem, "Cat hair is very fine, and during the healing process it can get into the pores pretty easily. The mites that naturally live on the hair then get in there and start doing their thing, which can lead to an infection."
Okay, news to me. And it hadn't been a problem before, although in the case of my previous work, which are also much smaller designs, it was all covered for the most part by shirt sleeves, so probably never exposed to cat hair to the same degree this one has been.
He suggested putting antibiotic ointment on the tattoo for about ten minutes after the first washing of the day, then removing it (apparently antibiotic creams actually retard the body's natural healing process - i.e. they prevent scabbing, which is necessary to help remove the upper layer of skin after the ink has been applied subcutaneously, so generally they're not recommended), in order to kill any bacteria the wee beasties may be leaving in the pores. He also indicated that, if the inflammation hadn't become noticeably less after a few days, I might want to see a doctor about a prescription for some mild antibiotics, to prevent any possible bacterial infection from setting in.
So, naturally I rushed home, washed my leg again and applied some Neosporin - for about fifteen minutes, just to be safe - and went to bed last night wearing sweats - my cats occasionally like to crawl beneath the sheets, so even with relatively fresh linen there's sure to be cat hair down there somewhere.
This morning there was a definite improvement: the scabs are beginning to loosen (TMI, I'm sure, but hey, this is about as bad as it gets), and the red, irritated skin around the edges of the ink seemed to be noticeably reduced. Also, I wasn't feeling the amount of "pinching" on my calf, which I had previously attributed to the natural shrinkage of the dead skin tissue as it dessicated. Good signs all.
So, I'm going to give the remedy a try for a couple more days, and see how things progress. With luck, the irritation will dissappear by the beginning of next week, and I figure most of the scabbing will be gone by then as well, hopefully leaving the piece in a showable condition.
And She's Always Gone Too Long, Anytime She Goes Away
Well, howdy there! Some of you (all six I'm sure) are probably dying to know why the ole' Boat hasn't been rocking these past few days.
Blame it on Blogger.
Turns out they changed some internal server settings that mucked up how the Intertubes identify and direct traffic to certain sites (including this one), causing all manner of hair-pulling, gnashing of teeth, waving of arms, and general boo-hooing among those of us lacking rudimentary coding skills. But, as you can see, it's all been fixed now, and things are more or less back to normal.
So, what did you miss in the meantime?
Spent part of last weekend running box office for SketchFest Seattle, our annual local immersion into the world of sketch comedy. Met some nice folks from a number of groups around the country, including brief interactions with Ted "Joxer" Raimi, who was helping out his friends Keilly And Roeters, and an extremely brief, albiet memorable run-in with SCTV alum, Joe Flaherty.
Friday, as those of you who were able to access my previous post will recall, was the day of the New Tattoo, which is currently a scabby, unsightly mass of dead skin tissue clinging to my leg, but which should emerge from its epidermal chrysalis in a few days to the oohs and ahhs of admiring Company members by next Monday (hope-hope).
On other fronts, the boat mechanic called today with the news that my carburetor has been fully cleaned, sand-blasted, and flushed of gunk. They'll install it tomorrow, and as soon as I recover from the shock of the bill, I'll actually be able to take her out again - just in time for the end of boating season, naturally.
One final bit of newsiness: I got a call from my mom yesterday, who informed me that she and her husband will be visiting Seattle next week - and staying for approximately three months while Dale undergoes some experimental gene therapy at Fred Hutchinson. They've been assigned a temporary residence at Pete Gross House, which is just a few blocks from the Center, and about splits the difference between my apartment and office, so I imagine I'll be seeing quite a bit of them while they're here.
That should catch everyone more-or-less up-to-date.
So, here's the result of two hours of my time yesterday at the neighborhood inkery:
(This is on the back of the left calf)
(And this is what it looks like from the front)
Technically, there should be an additional black stripe, in order to delineate a fifth "white" stripe, as appears on our logo, but Michael at Super Genius Tattoo, who did the work was concerned that crowding an extra black stripe into the image wouldn't leave sufficient room for the other "white" stripes to stand out. I may go in and have another black stripe added at some point in time, but given the fact that this was the most uncomfortable (read: painful) of the inkings I've had done to-date, I think I'll hold off on that for a bit.
I'd been thinking about getting another tattoo for quite some time (apparently, like potato chips, once you start, it's hard to stop), and had several ideas kicking around in my head, but after doing some research, and trying to develop some more specific graphic designs, I quickly realized most of what I envisioned would be: A.) time-consuming; and B.) VERY expensive.
Taking a different tack, I considered doing something that would be graphically simple, yet rather bold. I'd been thinking about doing a "tribal" for some time, but wasn't really interested in the Celtic or Chinese or Indian types of designs that most people usually associate with that type of tattoo, since, in my mind at least, they don't really serve the innate purpose of identifying ones self with a particular social group; they're just generic, and I suppose most people like them because of their association with more exotic or primitive cultures. But, unless you happen to actually BE from one of those "tribes", the association is ersatz and essentially meaningless, especially if everybody and their kid sister is sporting a similar image.
So, this line of reasoning naturally begged the question: "what exactly IS my 'tribe'?" And that, for me, is pretty easy to answer: "Theatre, of course." That's where 90% of my friends and social acquaintances reside, and where most of my creative passion is invested. But, even more specifically, Annex Theatre has been my artistic "home" for longer than any other company; even when I've wandered off to work at other theatres, it's been the one place I felt I could always return to, and where, no matter how long I'd been away, or what else I'd been doing, it has always been the place where I've felt most welcome, and where my contributions, as small or great as they may have been in the larger scheme of things, were always (and continue to be) appreciated.
And so, yeah. I put the Annex Theatre logo, the "fighting 'A'", on the back of my leg. Several people who heard of my intention, or who have seen the end product have mentioned the word "branding", and in a technical sense, I suppose they're correct. But, that's what I at least consider the entire point of sporting a "tribal" tattoo in the first place.
After all, if you're going to identify yourself with a tribe, it should at least be one that actually exists.
The Ship's Aground On The Shore Of This Uncharted Desert Isle
After several weeks of searching high-and-low for a qualified mobile mechanic, I finally got in contact with the guys at Gallery Marine, who assured me they could deal with a cranky 30 year-old marine engine.
Met the mechanic at the dock this morning, and a mere two hours later he called to inform me of several minor issues that he was able to correct, and oh, by the way, the carburator is full of "gunk" and needs to be thoroughly cleaned. So, he's going to pull it, take it into the shop for some TLC, and with luck, I should have an operable engine by sometime next week.
Just in time for the end of boating season, naturally.
Tonight is our first public performance in the space. We've hung a few lights (just enough to keep from popping circuit-breakers) and some drapes, wired some sound, painted the stage floor, cleaned the carpets, stocked the consessions, covered over the graffiti, stashed all the loose odds-and-ends out of sight, and told all our friends to stop on by for some late-night celebrating (it also being the 10th Anniversary of our monthly cabaret showcase - tin or pewter gifts greatly accepted). Things are about as super-spiffy as we can manage in the short amount of time we've had to rehabilitate nearly three decades of decay and neglect, and while it's certainly not tip-top (at least by our standards), it is functional - and that's all we need for the moment.
So, 11:00 p.m., 1100 E Pike St., "Under the big 'fighting A'", hope to see you there.
And She's Always Gone Too Long Anytime She Goes Away
Well, summer officially ended about 1:30 this morning with the sudden arrival of thunderbolts and lighting, and lots of rain, synchronistically timed to the end of the Labor Day Weekend. The lightning was bright enough to wake me from a sound sleep, although strangely I can't recall hearing any thunder.
So, now the kids are going back to school, the burners are bedraggledly returning from the playa, the days are becoming noticeably shorter (and darker), the daytime temperatures are starting to creep downward (although we might be in for a bit of a "last gasp" in the mid-70's for the weekend), the leaves are turning color and already dropping to the ground, and the squirrels are busy stashing away as much winter fodder as they can; all signs that Fall is here, regardless of the fact that the official transition is still several weeks away.
Progress on the theatre continues apace. On Sunday we began the process of transitioning the stage from a work/storage area to a performance venue in anticipation of our first public performance this Friday evening. Drapes have been hung; basic lights and sound systems installed; carpets cleaned; the bar/lounge area configured. Much of it is only temporary, since we will need to disassemble anything in the ceiling once we begin the sound mitigation in-earnest, but it's enough to allow performers to be seen and heard, and for audiences to sit and watch.
This weekend also heralded our annual arts fest where I spent the entire day on Saturday. Aside from the plethora of musical acts (most of which I am apparently "too old to recognize"), I did get a chance to see a few friends perform in some theatrical settings, including a great installation piece done in conjunction with a Canadian arts collective, Instant Coffee.
Yesterday was the Annual King County Labor Council Labor Day picnic, which seemed to have a rather light turnout this year, perhaps due in part to the weather forecast (which again, conveniently held off until well after dark), as well as the fact this is an off-year for local elections. Still, it was a pleasant, and relaxing way to spend an afternoon, although I felt a teensy bit quesey for part of the day after having donated blood; mostly it was just a psychosomatic reaction (I HATE - repeat - HATE needles!), in addition, no doubt to the effects of mild dehydration, as well as a proscription against caffeine intake, which always gets my cranky on to a certain extent. Still, every time I go in for a blood draw, it does get a little easier to confront the phobia, and of course the med techs are always top-notch, professional, and reassuring to a fault. Pluse, I had the added bonus of learning that my blood pressure has dropped significantly since my last check-up in March; presumably thanks to my moderate exercise program, I've gone from a BP of 124/82 (considered "High Normal") down to 116/72, which is smack-dab in the middle of "Normal Range", and my resting heart-rate is now 62, down from a previous rate of 70. So, that's all to the good, and I'm hoping my next check-up shows a commensurate decrease in cholesterol levels.