Sailing Sunday 3/30

I’ve been watching the weather forecast for this Sunday and they keep vacillating between 60% and 30% chance of rain. Plan on joining us for our 1st scheduled 2014 sail 3/30, 1:30 PM, Tualatin Commons. Watch this space for updates as we get closer.

We are now looking at 4/13 as a possible annual meeting date. More later.

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Sailing Sunday?

The weather forecast is looking good for this Sunday (3/23) and Patrick informed me that there is water in Tualatin Commons pond again. He plans to sail his T37, I plan to sail my Micro Magic. Why don’t you join us at 1:30?

8/18 Sail at Tualatin

We are scheduled to sail at Tualatin Commons this Sunday, 8/18, at 1:30 PM – please join us.

 Two weeks ago we attempted a return to Westmoreland Casting Pond. While there was plenty of water, the noise of diesel pumps in support of the on-going stream bed restoration work was a bit much. We have revised our schedule to reflect sailing only at Tualatin. I would appreciate status updates from anyone who happens to stop by Westmoreland in the coming weeks.

 I have a long-standing previous commitment for this Sunday and will be unable to sail with you – but have fun without me!

Frustrated with WordPress

I recently added a page to my site and many of my “custom header” photos got scrambled. I worked and worked and got most of the pages fixed, but a couple refuse to cooperate. The “happiness engineers” at WordPress responded to my inquiries in a cursory manner that did nothing to address my problems. Anyway, I’ve decided to redevelop my website (using RapidWeaver) and find another host. It will take me a while. hopefully it will be seamless to all of you.

Footy: Good News and not so good…

I received some very good news on the Yahoo Footy Group today. Dick McCoy (K6SamHam@yahoo.com) has taken over production of the Chris Staiger designed Pool Shark 3D. This is a fast, easy to sail, easy to build, nice looking boat – by far my favorite of all the Footys I’ve sailed. I have no reservations recommending this boat to anyone into Footy sailing.

 The bad news part refers to the apparent lack of enthusiasm on the part of Footy skippers in the Portland OR area. Rose City Model Sailing Club started in large part to support the innovative Footy Class and at first we had quite a bit of participation. A bit over a year ago, one of our members built a Micro Magic. Then more and more caught the Micro Magic bug. We added Micro Magics to our supported classes and they have taken off. As evidence, yesterday we held a Footy Race Day event and exactly one Footy (my Pool Shark 3D) showed up. We sailed Micro Magics and had a great time. It’s weird that I’m feeling almost nostalgic about the Footy Class. We have a few more designated Footy events on our sailing schedule this season. I’d love to see some Footy enthusiasm. If you are interested in Footys, please let us know through participation or communication.

Child of the 60’s

I’m hearing so much acrimony lately – on Facebook and elsewhere. It depresses me. I was just listening to the latest effort by Greg Brown – always one of my favorite lyricists – and thought I’d share the lyrics to the title track, Freak Flag. Obviously, I’m a child of the 60’s.

I grew up in the shadow of The Bomb
Come of age during Viet Nam
Many thousand gone – I never did know why
Well look around – it’s so hard to see
What’s happening to our big family
I’m an American – I’m gonna let my freak flag fly – fly
Well my dad preached a message of love
I heard him say on the day he passed on above
He said “Use what you got, son, to raise a hopeful cry”
Dad, I heard what you had to say
I try to hold to it every day
I’m your boy – I’m gonna let my freak flag fly – fly – fly
Flag of green, flag of brown
Leaves in the sky, roots in the ground
I’m singing and stomping by the dawns early light
For every soul being beat down
For every child who sees the light and turns around
Come on now – let’s let that freak flag fly – fly – fly
 

Spotify

A few weeks ago I began hearing about the Spotify streaming music service, apparently all the rage in Europe, arriving in the USA. Supposedly they have agreements with all of the major record labels to stream their music. They have Free accounts that include occasional text and spoken ads. They have Unlimited accounts ($4.95/mo.) that remove the ads. they have Premium accounts ($9.95/mo.) that add the ability to listen on mobile devices and to listen while offline, with some of their catalog streaming at 360kbps as opposed to the 180kbps offered for Free and Unlimited. The hook which allowed them to land the major labels is that they share revenue (from ads or subscriptions) with them.

To insure that their introduction to the USA went smoothly, they required invitations to obtain a Free account. I figured “what the heck” and requested one. About a bit over a week later I was listening. Their catalog is pretty dang good, though there are certainly gaps. The ads are not horribly intrusive but, once I got hooked on Spotify (and hooked I am) I had to spring for the $5/mo. and lose them.

Spotify is great for listening to that latest album by whoever. I often use it to indulge in the whims of my musical past. One way is to hit Wikipedia and search for “1967 in music” (fill the blank with your year of choice) and peruse the list of albums released in each month of the year. Listen to what tickles your fancy. Wikipedia is also great for spurring your memory to find other things you might want to listen to. Search for “Jefferson Airplane” and you’ll find links to related individuals and groups galore.

I plan to stay with the Unlimited account. I just don’t listen that often on my mobile device and when I want to I have plenty of music already there to choose from. I was tempted by the 360kbps bit rate, but (A) their are lots of complaints about the percent of Spotify’s catalog that is available at the higher bit rate and (B) I don’t know that I can hear the difference. I found (and unfortunately lost) a website that offered a side-by-side comparison of (I think) 160kbps and 320kbps streams. You could listen to each, switching back and forth, then you were supposed to guess which bit rate the mystery stream was offering. I flunked the quiz. I listen to music sometimes on my MacBook’s speakers, more often by streaming it to an Airport Express connected to my stereo. In either case, 180kpbs sounds fine to me.

I have been doing most of my music listening via Spotify for a couple of weeks now and I’m very happy. I have 18 days worth of music on my hard drive – it’s nice to not be gobbling up more of that space every time I want to hear something. Plus, I listen to things I wouldn’t necessarily want to purchase and download. When I signed up for Unlimited they gave me 5 invitations for Free accounts to pass out. I guess they let you go to the head of the line. I still have 4 of them if anyone is interested.

Me and WordPress

You may have noticed that the appearance of my webpage has changed substantially from the WordPress hosted version I first floated about three weeks ago. I was never really happy with the narrow format constrained by my choice of the Twenty Ten WordPress theme. If you’ve played around with WordPress.com, it may seem to you that there are a plethora of themes to choose from. On the surface that is correct but most of these are cosmetically different versions of the same basic form, designed for blogging for users on low resolution (1024 X 768) displays. There are some few “flexible width” themes that stretch beyond the 1024 pixel width limit and yet adjust to narrower windows, but I could find none of those that offered some features important to me (custom menu, custom header image). So I decided to convert my site to the fairly new Château theme which you are seeing before your eyes right now. Château is flexible width (narrow the width of the window you are viewing this in and you’ll see the display flex to accommodate the change. Go ahead and try it – I’ll wait.) though its maximum appears to be about the same as the fixed width of my former Twenty Ten theme. The feature offered by Château that sealed the deal for me was a one-column (no sidebar) format that effectively increased the width available for my content. I moved most of the content that formerly populated my sidebar to a new LINKS page. The hit counter widget I moved to the footer area.

I like the result well enough, though I still wish I could find a flexible width theme (with custom menu and custom header image, and a one column option) that offers a wider maximum width. I have been told (on the very helpful WordPress.com support forums) that I could achieve this by modifying themes through the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) with the $30/year Custom Design option. Another way would be to forego the free hosting I’m utilizing on WordPress.com for a third party host and switch to a site developed using the WordPress.org software. Themes that meet my criteria are available there (such as the Atahualpa theme developed by BytesFor All). Either one of these options would require me to crack some books. I’m not opposed to that – when my wife got addicted to Ken-Ken math puzzles, I taught myself enough of the C programming language to generate them. I may eventually jump into CSS, but for now I’m calling the major framework of my site “OK”.

Speaking of WordPress.com v. WordPress.org, a disadvantage of the .com hosted sites is that WordPress supposedly sometimes inserts (unobtrusive?) advertisements targeted at those viewing my site. I’ve never seen these – they don’t insert them for the site owner – so I’d love feedback from any of you who have seen advertisements while viewing my site.