Reminiscences of the Intracoastal Waterway

In the spring of 2004, my brother and I bought a sailboat, which we christened Audentes. We spent several weeks patching fiberglass on the hull, laying on gallons of hyper-expensive paint, and doing our grocery shopping at Walmart while we lived in a squalid, dusty boatyard. After launching, we took a short shakeout sail to the Bahamas with our parents, then we sailed north through the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Intracoastal Waterway

Though we were forced to motor slowly for much of the time, the ICW proved to be thoroughly enjoyable. We crept up the coast through protected channels, passing through towns like Belhaven, Norfolk and Elizabeth City while listening to the music of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan on the ship’s speakers. Locals waved lazily from the shore as they enjoyed the warm evenings, and we’d drop anchor right in the river, grilling up burgers or cooking baked beans before settling in for the night. There were deer and rabbits on the shore, dolphins and fish in the river, birds and mosquitoes in the sky.

There were obvious drawbacks like the vicious insects buzzing around our heads, the floating logs in the Dismal Swamp Canal, and running out of gas in the Chesapeake Bay, but it was a wonderful leg of the trip. I’d like to go back sometime, and I’d recommend the same to anyone else.

Aaron’s Article in Ocean Voyager

My brother, Aaron, with whom I went sailing for a year before I started working, has an interview published in the prestigious Ocean Navigator. You can pick up a copy at West Marine for $6, or you can view the article for free here. And no, I didn’t airbrush his beard on.


Aaron’s Article – Page 1
Aaron’s Article – Page 2
Aaron’s Article – Page 3
Aaron’s Article – Page 4
Aaron’s Article – Page 5
Aaron’s Article – Page 6

It’s a very good interview with some excellent pictures, especially the one where Aaron is tying a pillow to the spreader. You don’t learn that reading Nigel Calder.

Bishop Allen: A Hip Band to Love

I first came across Bishop Allen’s music in 2004, which makes me feel very cool. Unfortunately, I liked them but forgot about them for a few years, probably because I went sailing and wasn’t checking out any new music from the boat.

Bishop Allen

Fortunately, I re-discovered them through various music blogs, and it’s improved my quality of life. I won’t try and describe the music, except to say that:

My favorite is Busted Heart.

My Mom’s favorite would be Butterfly Nets.

Fall in love with Bishop Allen today.

Leonardo Da Vinci Site

While looking at the Webby Awards, which are given out annually in lots of categories, I came across this Leonardo Da Vinci site with lots of great stuff. It’s got images of sketches, paintings, and inventions, plus a thorough and expansive history of everything Da Vinci.


Besides all of the great information, the site has a terrific design that really demonstrates the breadth of Leonardo’s interests and talents. I like to fancy myself as something of a Renaissance Man, and seeing what he did is wonderful inspiration. I think it’s safe to say that there will never be another human as widely gifted as Leonardo Da Vinci.

My New Headphones: Sennheiser PX100

If you use headphones a lot, while you’re at work or the gym, I can’t recommend my Sennheiser PX100 headphones enough. They were given to my by my friend John, who made several outrageous claims about their quality.

He was right. These things are phenomenal. I wear headphones about 5 hours per day, and the quality of the sound, paricularly the bass, is nothing short of outstanding. They’re lightweight and comfortable, and they allow a bit of ambient noise in so that no one can talk about me while my back is turned.


Check them out. You might also be able to get a better price at Pricegrabber.

My First Dumpster Wine Rack

I enjoy transforming things into wine racks. This first started when I discovered several closet doors in a dumpster in Onset, MA. They were perfectly fine, and as I looked at them, I realized that a few notches in the slats would cradle a wine bottle very nicely.

Those fancy wine racks from Create & Barrel are nice, but I like that I make my own and they work just as well. Plus, it’s fun to reappropriate furniture creatively. You should try it.

Here’s my first wine rack. It holds something like 16 bottles, which is why it’s now gathering dust in a closet (ironic, eh?).

wine rack

Now, I keep my wine in a wine rack that I made out of an old dresser. It holds about 24 bottles, and is far more sturdy than its predecessor. Plus, there’s a little cubby in the top where I can keep my bottle opener. I’ve also installed some slats on the “ceiling” of the wine rack where I can hang about 6 wine glasses. It’s very convenient.

April 2007 Starting XI

A current debate rages about the justice of allowing a team, such as Chelsea, to buy success. Seemingly, Chelsea have been fortunate that they were purchased and bankrolled by a cutthroat Russian oligarch that raped his motherland and pillaged her natural resources for personal gain.

I am of the opinion that there’s nothing wrong with a billionaire taking control of a club and buying players for silly money. This is because:

1. The funds are being injected into football as a whole
2. The club is likely to become despised and loathed if they simply buy up the best available mercenary players
3. The combination of so many all-stars is likely to yield at least some magical football, despite what Chelsea has done

The gulf in class between the top tier of players and the next tier isn’t so great that passion, pride and determination are unable to overcome the difference in quality.

What would I do if I were a billionaire? Buy a football club, of course. Leyton Orient, to be exact. The London club are very much overshadowed by illustrious neighbors such as Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham and even Charlton Athletic.

The team is currently struggling in League One, two steps below the Premier League, but that would change with this team that I’d buy:


Friedel: Excellent keeper has been doing the job in the Premier League for years. Seems to raise his game against top competition, as Manchester United can attest.

Sagnol: An experience marauding right back, Sagnol will know when to hold his position and when to go forward.

Vidic: Every team needs an uncompromising center back. Vidic will be the defensive spine of the team.

Agger: Young and comfortable on the ball, Agger’s class and speed will compliment Vidic’s steel nicely in the center of defence.

Baines: A strong runner and a young lad, Baines also pops up with the occassional wunderstrike.

Hunt: Nicky Hunt has impressed for Reading in the Premier League, and his engine earns him a spot as my holding midfielder, breaking up attacks and distributing the ball.

Kaka: A wonderful player that oozes class, Kaka can pass and shoot, and has the work ethic to track back and do a bit of defending.

Giggs: Having lost his devastating pace, Giggs has reinvented himself as a creative midfielder and has the experience to dictate the game from the center of the park.

Messi: With huge potential and an already-enviable set of skills, Messi will torment opposing defenders all day with his pace and control.

Ronaldinho: A bit off-color recently, but still with as much talent as anyone in the world. It’s only a matter of time until he starts winning games by himself again.

Berbatov: A cool finisher to lead the line, I’ve actually picked Berbatov for his team play rather than his goals. He is the complete forward, able to hold up the ball, bring the rest of the team into the game, and finish adroitly.

A talented, hard-working, level-headed bunch. We won’t be screaming at referees or wasting time. There are goals to score and fans to entertain.

Borgamo: The Best Board Game Site Ever

Have you visited Borgamo yet today? No? What’s wrong with you? It’s the best site for board games around. You can find information, pictures and places to buy games all wrapped up in an ultra-slick layout.

I must especially recommend the Ticket to Ride page. It’s got a lot of good info and a great quick explanation of the game, which is perfect for a noob like you.

I’ve also made a couple of TTR maps, one of which is for Ticket to Ride: India. It’s not perfect yet, but I’m fairly proud of it. Here’s a thumbnail.

TTR India

Here is a ZIP file with the full-sized map and route cards: Ticket to Ride India.

If anyone else has made custom Ticket to Ride maps, I’d love to hear about them. I’m having a hard time figuring out the correct size to print mine out, so I would welcome any help.

I’ll Have the Roast Duck, With the Mango Salsa

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the GEICO cavemen (if not the company they promote). Not only are the commercials consistently hilarious in an of themselves, they’ve created an entire reality for themselves in just a few short TV ads.

Now, they’ve expanded that reality and put in online. Just check out the depth of the Caveman’s Crib.

The caveman comes out and chats with you, and then you’re free to explore his apartment, listen to his iPod, read his e-mail and see the notes he makes in the margins of Don Quixote.

Caveman's Crib

Take the time to look around, and amusement will surely follow. On a side note, there are rumors of an upcoming GEICO caveman TV show, which I think will be fabulous if it happens.

A place for projects