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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Draw and a Missed Win Versus Chess Grandmaster and Former World Champion Boris Spassky.

I happened to be sorting through a mound of documents that I had retrieved out of my rental storage unit back in Ennis, Texas when I came across a stack of old chess score sheets that I had kept over the years.

Space is at a premium on board the boat so I had little qualms about discarding ancient tax returns and such. Nevertheless I came across one score sheet in particular that got me thinking back to the time when I played against former World Champion Boris Spassky in a simultaneous exhibition.

The result was a draw yet a missed win for me versus the illustrious Grandmaster. The event was held at was then the Holiday Inn Hotel located at Mockingbird and Central Expressway in Dallas... a venue which has since undergone quite a number of both owner and name changes.

Nevertheless this game felt more like a loss than a hard earned draw with the black pieces despite the outcome. I failed to do some hard calculations at a critical moment of the game and did not play the incisive moves to bring the game to an abrupt conclusion.

The score sheet does not reflect the final fifteen or so moves showing white's king stalemated on the a1 square.

Upon the game's conclusion and upon my illustrious opponent signing off on the score sheet I reconstructed the critical position and suggested a decisive continuation for black. Mr. Spassky immediately and graciously responded in his heavily accented English, "Yah, would have won".

Unfortunately, against my better judgement I then blurted out, "Did you sign your name in English or in Russian?".. to which he then stood erect.. leaned forward and with his teeth understandably clenched, emphatically retorted Russian!! and I, still seething and annoyed with myself for having missed a win, collected my score sheet and autographed board and hurried on out of the playing hall.

A number of months later I find myself participating in a premier international event held in New York quietly observing some of highest internationally ranked players in the world gathering at their respective playing tables when there is a sudden hush in the playing hall.

Striding up together towards the cordoned off premier playing section to my surprise are former world champions Vassily Smyslov and Boris Spassky. I seem to recall my eyes widening and my jaw going slack as they approached. I wasn't but perhaps a few feet away when Mr. Spassky ever so briefly seemed to catch sight of me and then does a quick double take and then of all things, winks at me.

I'm quite sure that he didn't remember my previous indiscretion at that very moment.

Mr. Spassky... I do apologize for my confrontational utterance.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Time to Haul Ass on Out of Here...

I do believe that I may indeed be running out of excuses to not release the dock lines, hoist the mainsail and slip on out of the marina in the next day or so. Early morning prevailing winds usually seem to be out of the south and I'm thinking it would be a piece of cake to shove the boat out of the slip, hoist the mainsail and head on out of here under sail without even bothering to turn the motor on.

But I won't because it's against the Marina rules and because the river does have a two to three knot current and because the early prevailing southerly winds are light and because there is no sense in me trying to prove to anybody that I can. But it doesn't mean that I wouldn't prefer it that way.

The pain in my foot has subsided and I've got my fingers crossed that my Puertorican genes will eradicate any toxic microbes attempting to breach my immune system after impaling my foot on a rusted through-bolt down in the bilge as previously commented upon.

I did purchase some snorkeling gear earlier today... and no, I didn't buy it at Wal-Mart but rather at The Sports Authority. Also purchased were some inexpensive binoculars and rubber beach shoes so that the next time I bust my ass slipping down the steps in the companionway, I won't necessarily impale the bottom of my foot on some treacherous rusted through-bolt.

My plans in the next day or so are to sail the fourteen miles or so down the Caloosahatchee River,or however it's spelled, and anchor offshore Sanibel Island at Point Ybell for the evening and later scrape the barnacles off the hull before setting sail for Marco Island the following morning.

Tomorrow should be a busy day... off gas cans. off water tank and cans.
...purchase and program a Garmin GPS. up marina fees. out Amy at the Hideaway and give her a tight embrace and a passionate kiss on the lips.

Okay...never mind the last one. It was just wishful thinking.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mishap aboard S/V Blondie-Dog...

I injured myself yesterday afternoon. It started to rain and I got too much in a hurry to close up the hatch and upon stepping down back into the galley, I slipped and busted my ass. Busting my ass was the least of my worries though. Of more concern is the deep bruise and puncture to the bottom of my left foot.

I had pulled up the slats covering up the bilge so that I could soak up some moisture and upon slipping on the steps my foot slid out from under me all the way down into the bilge and impaled itself on one of the rusted through-bolts providing support to the keel.

Needless to say, there was blood everywhere... I pulled out my first-aid kit and wiped the wound clean as best as I could before heading up to the shower facilities so that I could wash all the grime off both myself and the wound. I further nursed the wound with some Neosporine and a band-aid.

I later continued to nurse my wound with a few cold ones at the Hideaway Bar... okay, maybe more than just a few. I drove my car instead of walking the two blocks but I was nevertheless in some serious pain.

I'm still debating whether to get it treated at a medical facility along with getting a tetanus shot, but just the thought of being gouged $400 or so pisses me off. Can you say "National Health-Care Now dammit"? I say make F****g Dick Cheney and Halliburton pay for it with all the profits made off of the No-Bid Contracts bull sh*t wars.

My foot still hurts but I think that I'll be okay.

My late gourmet dinner last night, not that anyone gives a flying flip, was a bowl of delectable Gazpacho soup along with some sausage links from Vienna, Austria. Never mind that my so-called "Gazpacho Soup" was but a can of unheated off-brand Publix tomato soup and the fine sausage links were out of a tin labeled Vienna Sausages.

Memo to self: Go to Wal-Mart and purchase a pair of inexpensive rubber beach shoes to wear on the boat.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Housekeeping aboard S/V Blondie-Dog...

Washing dishes aboard the boat is about my least pleasant chore. Mainly because I'm already somewhat exhausted after having to coax the alcohol stove to put out some heat to cook a simple meal and because I'm hot after slaving in the galley and because I've eaten and all I want to do is go shower and then kick back.

I did replace the sink strainer sometime ago and repaired its plastic tubing so that all the yucky dish water along with the gross food particles wouldn't drain into the bilge.

Nevertheless I have found that the most effective way to wash dishes is with two buckets sitting side by side in the cockpit. One for washing and the other for rinsing. Once offshore, there will be three buckets. Two of which will be for rinsing and the last of the two with but a little bit of fresh water.

If I happen to be too indisposed to wash dishes in the evenings, I simply let these soak overnight in a bucket of sudsy water out in the cockpit. I'll later wash these the next morning. It's not like I got to get up early the next morning to commute to the claustrophobic confinement of an office cubicle. Besides, Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind" would often justify her procrastinations by declaring, "After all, tomorrow is another day."

Hey dude... you need to read that's a good book.

S/V Blondie-Dog also happens to have a new "washer machine" of sorts... at least the clothes agitator part of it for the wash cycle anyway. Cruising tip number 863 out of the "Why Didn't I Think of That" compilation of tips from live-aboard sailors, suggest a bucket and a toilet-bowl plunger.

Well, I can certainly attest to the fact that this tip actually does work. My Beer & Wine home brewing deluxe primary fermenter previously used to ferment wine back in another life in Ennis, Texas was salvaged out of a storage unit and brought on board the boat to serve other purposes.

Ever since then, the bucket has been occasionally b*thching at me and telling me that she was intended to brew beer and make wine and not wash grungy underwear and t-shirts, nor was she intended to be turned upside down in the cockpit late in the evenings and used as a table for my laptop.

All of which I have to remind her in no unequivocal terms that I am the captain of the boat and she'll do what I tell her to do and that if she b*tches too much she will be consigned to indelicate number 2 duties.

Sleeping accomodations aboard S/V Blondie-Dog...

The rains have let up for the time being here in Ft. Myers and consequently there is little relief from the heat during the days. The evenings do offer a little respite but for the most part there is little air circulation going on and it's simply uncomfortable down below inside the cabin. As a result, I find myself laying out some foam camping pads out on a lazarette in the cockpit and on top of it my sleeping bag and a couple of bed sheets.

It's not the most comfortable arrangement but at least I can get a little breeze to cool things down a bit. It can feel like camping and the other evening at two in the morning or so I happened to gaze up and saw a satellite streaking across the sky from one horizon to the next. There is also the occasional mosquito announcing its bad intentions with its tinny buzz inducing fear and a DEFCON 5 warning alert.

The sonic-boom heard reverberating throughout the marina and rattling all the halyards at four in the morning had nothing to do with any anti-mosquito defense systems... it was simply me shifting position and then relieving a gas pressure buildup. KaBooM!!!!