Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Greatest Hits

Another year has come and gone and we're still afloat. Last year, we made a list of things we hoped to accomplish in 2010, and here it is:

*New Wind Generator
*New Lazarette Cover
*Propane System w/ New Grill
*New Anchor, Chain and Windlass
*New Foam and Covers for V-Berth
*Covers for Cockpit Cushions
*New Sails (Roller Furling and Main)
*Chartplotter, Depthfinder, Radar, Autopilot (Raymarine C70)
*Raise Boom

The first four items were checked off the list in 2010 (minus the windlass).  The other items either lost priority or were overtaken by opportunity. Here is the complete list of our 2010 accomplishments:

*Found & Reattached Lazarette Cover
*Propane System w/ New Grill
*LED Spreader Lights (Ben also installed LED navigation lights which I failed to blog about)
*Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check
*Anchor, Bow Roller & Chain (I never blogged about the chain)
*Livingston Dinghy
*Carburetor, Choke and Head Gasket for the Atomic 4
*Honeywell Gas Generator
*Wind Generator
*Wind Vane (We got a wind vane but never installed it, so I never blogged about it)

The Livingston was sold a month or so after Ben fixed it up. Earlier this week, Ben sold the Wind Generator and the Wind Vane. Sometimes less is more, and we're reminded of that lesson on a daily basis.

This year we were lucky enough to do a bit of traveling during our downtime. We only sailed three times (ouch!) but we also traveled by car and plane. Here is a recap of our travels:

*San Francisco, (SF2, SF3)
*Joshua Tree
*Sailing the Bay
*Las Vegas
*Sailing Glorietta Bay
*Costa Rica, (CR2, CR3, CR4, CR5, CR6)
*Sailing Mission Bay, (MB2)
*Julian, CA

Our list of things we hope to accomplish in 2011 is a short list. If we can check the first one off quickly, the second item will most likely be a breeze to accomplish:

*Get an auto-tiller
*Sail more!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big Bay Balloon Parade

Today is the Big Bay Balloon Parade. We happened by the balloons on our way to coffee this morning. The parade starts in about a half hour so we'll no doubt bump into the balloons again on our way back to the boat. Here are a few pictures:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Go Away!!

I keep wanting to write something profound but I can't find the words. Many transplants living here in San Diego chose San Diego in order to escape bad weather elsewhere. I live here for the same reason. This winter has undermined my reasoning. Let's face it... this entire year has been a disappointment as far as weather goes. Ben and I spent time in Costa Rica this summer in order to avoid June Gloom. When we got back to San Diego the sun never came out, so we took off on a road trip to Michigan with the hopes that summer would greet us on our return to San Diego. No such luck. We did enjoy a beautiful Indian Summer for a few weeks in October and November. But this winter has been anything but pleasant. Last week it rained for something like 5 days straight. Worse than the torrential rains were the howling winds. We laid awake at least one entire night grappling with our faith in the chains that bind us to our mooring. I am not a religious person, but I would liken my faith in the boat and the mooring to anyone's faith in God (with one huge difference being the actual tangible boat and mooring). I'll admit after last Wednesday night, I was second-guessing, once again, my ability to live on - or sail - a boat. But eventually the sun always comes out (not always accompanied by warm temperatures) and the memories of sleepless nights fall by the wayside. I find myself a little bit stronger and I can laugh about the adventure. Until the next storm (read: today). 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Spirit

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights was last night (and next Sunday night, too). The parade was pretty low key this time around, probably due to what happened last year. We rowed out to the end of the mooring field and hooked on to an empty ball to enjoy the show. We were joined by Markitos and Christy toward the end of the parade. As always, it's difficult to get nighttime pictures from a floating dinghy. Here are a few of the better shots.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Morning

Lately, all I can muster up are a few pictures of the sunrise, or lack thereof. Starting next week, I'll be on vacation for a month, so hopefully I'll find some inspiration to write. The weather today is supposed to be in the mid- to high-70's and we're already off to a good start! The Parade of Lights is tonight and again next Sunday so we're looking forward rowing out to the end of the mooring field to watch. If we get any good pictures, I'll be sure to share them.    

Friday, December 10, 2010

Waiting for the Sun

Every morning, a different view...
Fog where the skyline used to be

Ben heading off to work

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Imagine my surprise when I mozied down the dock this morning and spotted a dinghy flipped upside down, hanging off the stern of another dinghy. Then imagine my "Oh shit!" moment when I realized it was Ben's dinghy that was flipped, outboard motor dangling upside down in the water. I'll admit I panicked a bit. I ran down and hopped into Eddie's dinghy and tried with all my might (well, what little might I do have), but to no avail. There was no way I could flip that thing back over by myself. I rowed home in a frenzy, called Ben at school (you know, cuz I figured I might as well panic him, too!) and told him what happened. Then as any good girlfriend would do, I grabbed my camera and headed back to the dock. Snapped a few shots. Tried fruitlessly to flip the thing over again (I swear I could have succeeded if only there wasn't a motor on the back!) and a few minutes later, like clockwork, Paul came pedaling down the dock and saved the day. What I can't figure out is how in the world did this happen?

Anyone with information on this crime is encouraged to contact s/v Mother Culture.
There are three ways to leave a tip:
1) Leave an anonymous comment on this blog
2) Give us a call or drop us an email
3) Let us know when we see you on the dock

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter Horizon

As the days grow shorter and colder, I seem to catch more sunrises than sunsets. We're patiently awaiting the arrival of December 22.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Neither Wind Nor Rain Nor Dark of Night

It seems the windy season has blown in and once again we're taking advantage of it.  Ben got a steal on this used Air-X wind generator and installed it last week.  Even though last year's microburst was most likely a *once in a lifetime* event for those of us who endured it, this time around Ben is going to install a kill switch to err on the side of caution.  I had planned on sharing a short 20-second video of the [yet-to-be-named] wind generator in action but as usual, my worthless 3G provider (hint: begins with the letter "V") refuses to allow me the pleasure of uploading even the shortest of videos.  So this half-assed picture will have to suffice instead.

The Honeywell generator has been working out perfectly on the calm, cloudy and/or rainy days.  I can actually start it on my own (Toot-toot!) and we found a place to set it where it doesn't cause a clattering reverberation throughout the entire boat.  As far as electricity is concerned, it looks like we've finally got everything squared away.

Sunset Bike Ride: October 29, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Winter Wonder

This is a random post about something we've been wondering for a couple years.  The past two summers we've driven across the country along I-80 and we noticed these partial fences on the plains along the freeway.  We couldn't imagine what purpose they served and it has taken me this long to research it.  So here is my answer to our question... They are snow fences.  I borrowed this picture from another blog, High Plains Drifter, and I found this article with interesting information on the how and why behind the snow fences.  So now we know. ;)  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

For The Record

I've heard it sung that it never rains in southern California. I'm here to tell you that's not true.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In Hibernation

We're still here.  I think about blogging a lot but for more than one reason I haven't bothered to update.  Partly because I have (theshittiestserviceonearth) Verizon 3g which ensures that I can't upload anything, Ever.  Partly because I've been busy with school and work.  Partly because I'm enjoying my privacy lately.

The sun doesn't shine anymore in sunny Socal, so we bought a new Honeywell 2000i generator  yesterday so I can work throughout the winter.  We no longer have the benefit of staying at a hotel during the winter storms because Ben is no longer working at the Quality Inn.  So we'll be roughing it here with our Honeywell.  It's not as quiet as the Honda eu2000i, but it's less than half the price so I think it will do. 

Ben finished installing a new choke, carburetor and head gasket on Mother Culture's Atomic 4 engine.  We haven't left the ball since we arrived back from Mission Bay a couple months ago.  Next on his To-Do list is some maintenance on Old Grand-Dad (aka the Honda Goldwing).  Hopefully we'll get to take a road trip or sailing trip over Thanksgiving break.  I guess that's about all I have to share for now.  Til next time...     

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cruising... on a Monday Afternoon

We had the day off from school on Monday, so we cruised out to Julian.  One of the unfortunate things about San Diego is the fact that there aren't many back roads.  But we found one and I took some videos along the way...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Kind of Cruising

We got a new set of wheels!!
A 1984 Honda Goldwing GL 1200 Interstate.

Friday, August 20, 2010

School Daze

We're gearing up to start school again on Monday and we have pretty full loads this semester so our adventures will be few and far between for the next few months.  On our way home from Mission Bay last weekend, Mo-C experienced a little engine trouble, so Ben ordered a new carburetor and head gasket and once the parts arrive, he'll put on his grease monkey suit and take care of business.  Since summer came late this year, we're hoping it will stick around a little longer so we can take a few more weekend sailing trips before winter creeps in. 

This is a picture of Mother Culture at anchor in Mission Bay last week. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Sail

Yesterday we sailed from San Diego Bay to Mission Bay. I'm always a little nervous when sailing because I've always had a fear of the ocean. My fears have subsided a lot over the past two years but I am still very aware of the power of the ocean and I try my best to stay out of Mother Nature's way. Yesterday's sail was pretty awesome for beginners. The seas were pretty calm but we had enough wind to make it there in good time. And we even saw a pod of dolphins crossing our path!  Here are a few pics and a video...

This stealthy, wealthy boat was anchored off the edge of the mooring field when we left

I'm always a fan of the seals and sea lions on the buoys



At anchor

I also added a panorama shot of the anchorage at the bottom of my page.  Scroll all the way down to the very bottom of my blog to check it. But first, check out this quick video of the dolphins!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Highlight

Could it be our own Pirate Bob from the Laurel Street mooring? You bet it is!


San Diego lifeguards tried to help a man whose boat was grounded Monday south of the Ocean Beach Pier.  The man did not want to get off the boat, but lifeguards were able to walk him to shore, lifeguard Sgt. Troy Keach said.  He was suspected of public intoxication and arrested, police Officer Dino Delimitros said."

(source: San Diego Union Tribune, Tuesday, August 10, 2010 issue, page B2)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day Two

It's day two of August and the sun has graced us with its presence once again. Here are a couple pics of the blue sky and the sunset we enjoyed yesterday.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Sun Day

As typically seems to be the case, when I open my mouth I usually end up sticking my foot in it. Everyone that lives in San Diego knows about May Gray and June Gloom.  We expect those months to be cool and cloudy (and we try to schedule vacations during those months for that reason).  Ben and I went to Costa Rica in June and when we returned at the end of the month to a still-cloudy San Diego, we bit our tongues and tapped our fingers in anticipation of the hot, sunny weather July would produce.  The first week of July came and went and still no sun.  So we got out of dodge and motored over to Michigan to bask in their glorious rays.  We knew by the time we got back to San Diego, the sun would be in full force.  But when we returned at the end of July, still no sun.  It was my fault.  It's that old self-fulfilling prophecy.  Last July, I distinctly remember complaining about the heat and the ever-present sun.  I recall wishing the sun would disappear forever.  I even complained about it in a blog post.  I'm ashamed of myself, really.  I took the sun for granted and this July the sun decided to teach me a lesson. 

According to news reports, this July was the coolest in 77 years.  The coolest July since 1933!  There were only four clear days here in the Bay.  FOUR!  And I'm guessing they happened when we were in Michigan because I'm not sure I could have counted four clear hours.

Today is August 1st and if today is a precursor to what the rest of the month will bring, I'd say summer has finally arrived here in San Diego.  But I'm not counting on it.  I will, however, keep my fingers crossed. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Road Trip 2010: Lake Michigan

A couple weeks ago, we decided to ditch this cloudy city and make a road trip to warm and sunny South Haven, Michigan. Some of Ben's family were meeting there to attend a ceremony for his late grandmother. We packed up Thin Mint and scurried along the open road through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, a smidge of Indiana, and finally Michigan. Since we made a similar (yet much longer) road trip last summer, we didn't take as many pictures of the scenery along the way, but we did take plenty of pictures of the family living it up at Lake Michigan. This trip ended up being a special trip for us because our dearly beloved Thin Mint didn't make it home with us. Last summer, she took us an amazing 7,127 miles back and forth across the entire country. This time she made it 2,892 miles before she decided to make her final resting place a little town called Moline, Illinois. She was a good car and she kept up with my abuse as good as any other. Better, in fact. And she will be missed.  Once we were certain Thin Mint was comfortable in her new spot, we rented a car, loaded the trunk with all our belongings and set off to finish our journey in the lap of luxury with air-conditioning and cruise control. 

Here are pictures from our trip:
Road Trip to Michigan 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And The Countdown Begins

In April, someone stole one of Ben's bicycle tires, deeming the bicycle completely worthless. A new wheel would cost more than the value of the bike... more than the cost of a new-used bike.  Yesterday, thanks to the invention of craigslist, Ben scored this flashy new-used cruiser at a rock bottom price. And so the countdown begins...

The last time I posted about my own vintage townie, someone had gone wild on my basket. I can see in the picture on the post that my bell remained in tact at the time of that photo shoot.  Since then, some angry soul stole my I MY BIKE bell.  It was hard adjusting to riding without a bell, but not nearly as difficult as the transition to riding without brakes.  I set off the other morning to grab a shower at the Sheraton only to find out some malicious being stole all four of my brake pads.  Luckily, this story has a happy ending.  I made it home in tact and purchased four new brake pads and this snazzy she-pirate bell.  And the countdown begins... again...

Friday, July 23, 2010

In the Moment

This has nothing to do with boating but it's one of those things I'd like to look back on one day far into the future.  Maybe you have to live in California to appreciate what's going on here...

California Gurls by Katy Perry

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who Needs a Rock...

 ...when you can be carved in stone instead?

As you may have figured by now, we on Mo-C aren't what most people might describe as a "traditional family".  The parents aren't married and the child has a big ears and extremely short legs.  But that doesn't mean we don't take our commitment to one another seriously. 

Before moving onto Mother Culture (and even before living in Tater), we lived in the coolest place on earth, Ocean Beach.  We consider it home away from home and OB will always have a place in our hearts.  We still visit OB at least every other day to pick up our mail at the Post Office, to get lattes at Pirate's Cove Coffee Cart (yes, you heard me right!) or margaritas at the Blue Parrot.  OB is the town in which Lola grew up (and in many ways, it's the town where Ben and I grew up, too!)

In honor of our love for OB and for our "non-traditional family", we have carved our union (and transition) in stone along Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach... to continue on long after we're gone...

Here's to OB, Mo-C, Ben, Sam & Lola! 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Along the Road: Costa Rica

One of the first things you notice when you get off the plane in Costa Rica (or before you arrive, if you're the planning type) is the addresses, or lack thereof.  The address of the first hostel we stayed at read something like this:  Avenida 11 between Calles 3 & 3 bis.  But the catch is, there are no street signs in Costa Rica.  Not. A. One.  And while that might drive you planning types (aka "The Old Me") crazy, I believe it added to the allure of the Pura Vida.

Having left our cell phones and computers back in the USA, now the only way someone could find us was if they knew to walk 500 meters up an unnamed dirt road, across the river and through the rain forest, make a right at the fifth coconut palm, continue on for 100 meters and make a left next to the howler monkey hanging from the mango tree, make another right at the waterfall and well, you get the picture. 

So we relied on public transportation to get us to each point on the map.  Public transportation... and the oh-so-helpful Lonely Planet guide to Costa Rica.  The map above shows the route we took, starting from San Jose.  We spent one night at Hostel Pangea in San Jose ($30/night, w/hot water, shared showers) and the next afternoon we caught a bus southeast to San Isidro (about a 2-hour ride), where we had lunch and caught the next bus southwest to Dominical (about 1-hour ride).  We found it amusing that every Tico (aka Costa Rican local) seemed to know exactly where we were headed without even asking.  We figured we'd fit right in down in Dominical, and we did. 

We spent two nights at Hostel Antorchas ($14/night with private bath w/cold water showers) before catching another bus north to Quepos (2-hour ride), where got a room for two nights at the Wide Mouth Frog Hostel ($30/night with shared, cold water showers).  While staying in Quepos, we took a short bus ride to Manual Antonio National Park and spent a few hours frolicking on the white sand beaches and hiking through the rain forest. 

From Quepos, we hopped on a bus headed north to Puntarenas (about 3 hours) and took the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to the town of Paquera, on the Nicoya Peninsula.  The ferry ride was just over an hour long and once we arrived in Paquera, we took a bus about an hour south to Montezuma. 

Montezuma proved to be the place where we lost track of time.  Actually, we lost track of time somewhere between San Jose and Quepos.  Montezuma was the place where we learned what day it really was...which gave us an extra day of travel!  And since Montezuma was definitely the best stop on our trip, we decided to spend our extra day there, giving us three nights total at Hotel Lucy ($22/night w/shared, cold water showers).

From the first night in Dominical all the way to Montezuma, we were traveling one day behind a couple from Germany, Kai and Kristen. They, too, had been following the Lonely Planet guide to Costa Rica and since we'd been bumping into each other all over the country, we decided to travel together from Montezuma to Alajuela. They were due to fly out the morning before us. So we got back on the bus and traveled one hour north to Paquera, took the hour-long ferry ride back to Puntarenas and then another two or three hour bus ride to Alajuela, where we stayed in the dorms ($13/person, shared showers w/hot water) at Maleku Hostel.  The next morning, the four of us took a bus from Alajuela to Volcan Poas and spent a few hours hiking around and watching the smoke billow out of its crater. 

Riding the buses was a great experience because we got to see a lot of the countryside without having to navigate our own way down unfamiliar streets with no names.  We were able to see how the Ticos live and travel and interact.  None of the buses cost more than $3 one way and they all ran on time to the point that we never missed a bus and we were never waiting too long, either.  We had our doubts about how much of Costa Rica we'd actually get to see in ten days... and in the end we actually got to see quite a lot. 

In my next few posts, I'll try to pick out a few pictures and give a little synopsis of each place we visited...

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Last of the Costa Rica Vids

Here are the last of the videos from Costa Rica, taken along the road to Volcan Poas and at the crater on the volcano:

On the Road to Volcan Poas
The Crater at Volcan Poas

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Waterfall Vids, Costa Rica

Here are videos of the waterfall in Montezuma, Costa Rica.  Ben hiked to the waterfall with Jason, a fellow American we met at Hotel Lucy. 

Ben's First Jump
Jason Jumps
Ben Jumps Again
After the Jump 1
After the Jump 2

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Costa Rica Wildlife Videos

I still plan on writing a proper post about Costa Rica but I've been busy catching up on work since we got back, so for now you'll have to settle for pictures and videos. 

Ants Go Marching in Dominical, C.R.
Coati in Manual Antonio National Park, C.R.
Lizard in Manual Antonio National Park, C.R.
Lizard in Manual Antonio, Part 2
White-Throated Magpie-Jay in Montezuma, C.R.
Squirrel in Tree in Montezuma, C.R.
Howler Monkey in Montezuma, C.R.

That's it for wildlife vids. Well, unless you count Ben and Jason jumping off the waterfall! I'll post those videos next time.

(Note: Hold down "Ctrl" and click link to open in a new tab or window. Blogger doesn't allow me the option to automatically set it up that way.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Anniversary Six

I had originally drafted this blog post to commemorate the 6th anniversary of Ben & Sam's noviazgo. I made a little slideshow of "Through the Years" pictures and wrote a few words scheduled to be published on the day that we met- six years ago, yesterday. But then, in preparation for our trip to Costa Rica, we dropped Lola off at "Camp Rita" for 20 days and I got sentimental about the 6th anniversary of We 3. Because let's face it, "Ben & Sam" never really existed without "& Lola".

So today marks the sixth year that Ben, Lola & I have been hanging out. And unfortunately, this is the first year We 3 won't be celebrating together. Today, Ben and I are wandering around Costa Rica while Lola is sailing the high seas with her favorite friends, Uncle Adam and cousin Jasmine on their sailboat, Rita. But we're always together in spirit and we're counting down the days til we're reunited next week!

Here's to We3 x 6... and many more!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Instead of a staycation, we decided to go far away this year.  By the time you read this post, we'll be on our way to Costa Rica.  We look forward to meeting my namesake, Toucan Sam, as well as many monkeys and whatever else the Ticos can throw our way.  We'll be gone for a few days, so don't wait up... and if this blog is not updated again by the end of the month, you'll know where the find us!  And if you're curious about Lola's whereabouts, you'll have to ask Adam at Camp Rita.  Hasta luego, amigos!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Swing

Blogging has been on my mind but it seems I can't come up with a coherent thought lately. I think that is due in part to the summertime swing of things. School is out, which means more time to hang out with friends. I uploaded some photos over a week ago but it's taken me this long to post them. So here goes:

Usually Ben's bicycle is the victim of foul play but it appears someone raged on my bicycled basket one night a few weeks back. Wish I could have seen this as it was happening. I'm sure it would have been a good show.

Last week, our friend Andrea came by to experience the liveaboard lifestyle.  We went for a cruise around the bay on the Livingston and she got to meet some of the neighbors. 
We stopped by Joe & Julie's boat.  Julie was out of town and I didn't get a picture of Joe, but this picture of Andrea and Lola is priceless.  Those of you who know Lola know that she doesn't take kindly to strangers.  It can take her a year to get used to new people.  This was the very first time she met Andrea and Lola took an immediate liking to her.

This is another priceless picture... I row myself around all the time but I rarely row other people.  Although I do recall a time, perhaps the first summer we were on the boat, when I was rowing Ben to the dock and a man up on the wall yelled down to Ben, "You are my HERO!"

Currently, Ben and Lola are about an hour up north.  On Tuesday, they took the ferry to Catalina Island to meet Adam & Jasmine.  They originally intended to sail to Santa Barbara, but due to time constraints they had to change plans and, as far as I know, they are headed to Newport instead.  I'm hoping to hear from them sometime today.  I think the most difficult part of sailing is not worrying about your own safety while underway, but rather worrying about your loved ones while they are underway without you. 

"May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face."
~Irish Blessing

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another Day on the Mooring Field

Yesterday, Ben met Joe & Brad out in the bay to help bring Pharaoh back to the ball.  Pharaoh and crew spent the last ten days at the cop dock, working to get her engine running.  Unfortunately, the cops shooed them away before they got the parts back from the machine shop, so she needed a tow back to the ball.  (Photo, right)

I spent last night at the hotel while Ben was working, so I was able to upload some of my HD videos onto YouTube.  Here are links to some of the Livingston videos that I didn't get to post the other day:

Livingston 1
Livingston 2
Livingston 3
Home Stretch

Saturday, May 22, 2010

SeeFood Dinner

(Here's the direct link in case your internet has trouble loading, like mine does!)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This post has been a long time coming.  Back in January, Ben bought a 10-foot Livingston boat from one of our neighbors.  The boat had been damaged during one of our winter storms so he had to re-fiberglass the bottom.  While Ben had plans to fix it up and get it back into the water ASAP, the rain had other plans so it took a few days and a few headaches before it was floating again.  Once the boat was back in the water, Ben spent the next few months tinkering with a Honda 10 hp engine that had also been swamped during a storm.  Working on engines over the water can be tricky because if you drop a part, it will most likely fall into the water... and you can pretty much forget about getting it back.  After a few lost parts and a few more headaches, Ben decided to get an already-working engine instead.  So he got a sweet deal on a Suzuki 9.9 hp engine and put it in place.  The Livingston was finally mobile!  A day or two later, the starter broke and Ben was up to his limit with headaches so he dropped the starter off at the shop to be fixed on solid ground.  Luckily, the engine can be started manually while the starter is at the shop.

Last week, Ben used the Livingston to tow Joe & Julie's 51 foot concrete sloop from the mooring field to the cop docks at Shelter Island.  Unfortunately, I was at school (actually, that was pretty fortunate for me because I'm pretty sure I would have had a panic attack if I had to be present for that maneuver!) so I didn't get any pictures or videos. 

Ben took the Livingston out to the ocean today, and I got a beautiful HD video of him taking off... I'd love to share it but unfortunately my new Verizon internet card sucks just about as bad as AT&T did (no, wait... it sucks MORE) so naturally it cut out about three quarters of the way through the upload to YouTube (and of course it took a good two hours for it to upload to that point) so I won't be able to share it today.  If I'm ever near a real internet connection, maybe I can get the video loaded and share it with everyone.  For now, we'll have to settle for still life.