April 2020

Bahamas: Great Harbor Cay to Norman's Cay

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Tue, 04/21/2020 - 11:26

Better late than never to write about what we did in the Bahamas...

Our first day in Great Harbor Key we went and talked to Rhett and Deb on SV Twin as we recognized them from the marina in South Bimini (and they have the same model boat as we do).  They were planning to move around a point about 1/2 mile away and we decided to move with them.  We would be more protected from the winds for the next day or two.  Then we went to walk around town.  There was a wild preaching sort of thing going on in the city park, sort of like slam poetry maybe.  The one lady was rhythmically shouting (rapping?) into the microphone and a few others were gathered around.  They had their maxed out PA system pointed outwards so everyone could experience it!  We went to a little restaurant on top of a hill and had some OK food.  We also bought a few things at the relatively well-stocked grocery store.  Then that evening we went over to their boat for supper; I was a little late as I took the dinghy to the marina to get the MyIslandWiFi hotspot unit.  The cut through rock into the harbor is pretty neat.  It was dark on the way back and I had the dinghy lights on.  As I was about halfways back to the boat (a couple miles trip) I felt a wake.  You can tell from the feel of the waves how recently the wake was made, and these felt very recent.  And then I smelled exhaust.  So basically some maniac with no lights on buzzed right past me in the pitch dark.

Leaving the Bahamas

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Tue, 04/21/2020 - 11:07

About a week ago we decided that it was finally time to leave the Bahamas.  We had basically been sitting on the boat for three weeks as more and more restrictions were put in place.  I don't remember all the details but it was a progression: first all gatherings were prohibited, then all beaches were closed, then more and more until we were literally forbidden from leaving our boat for any purpose.  Grocery delivery was to be arranged with a $150 minimum and $15 delivery fee.

Every time a new restriction was announced it was always slightly open to interpretation so the situation was changing every day as different officials were asked questions.  There were many interpretations of whether travel back to the US was allowed, with or without stops to sleep, refuel, get groceries/water, etc.  I was very stressed out and losing a lot of sleep.  Most recently they did publish guidelines to answer some of those questions, which also included a line "encouraging boaters to return to their home country".

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Tue, 04/07/2020 - 17:48

I read about half of this book a week or two ago.  Today I picked it up to finish it and only got a few paragraphs in.

The lack of punctuation absolutely kills me.  Most egregious is no quotation marks to show when someone is talking.  But there are plenty of other liberties taken and frankly I just don't like that.

The stories themselves are good enough that I would finish the book if it was normally written.  Reading about "hard" lives isn't exactly of strong interest to me, and at two weeks past reading them I don't really remember anything else about them.

The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Tue, 04/07/2020 - 17:44

Very good read!  Plenty of great spaceship-type action, and grand plot strategies that reminded me of the style of the Foundation trilogy.  But also I really enjoyed the sequence where the main character dreams comprehensively about spending time with the perfect woman.

I think I am getting better at processing Chinese names as they were a little easier to remember in this second book of the trilogy.

How I make coffee with the AeroPress

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Fri, 04/03/2020 - 07:55

I was reading some discussion about the AeroPress recently and many people were describing their process.  There are some people who love their coffee in a very precise way!  My process is probably close to the ultimate in laziness (80% of the quality for 20% of the effort).

I use a vacuum mug that is probably 16 oz. capacity.  Over time I have become able to eyeball how much water in the electric kettle will result in the mug being almost full.  So I fill the kettle to a little over the top of the "0.5L" text and start it.  While it heats, I put the filter and grounds (a couple heaping teaspoons of cheap stuff) into the AeroPress.    As the kettle heats up it starts making noise.  After about 10 seconds of noise it is the temperature that will result in an easily drinkable cup of coffee immediately after brewing.  So I take the water and poor it over the grounds, slowly at first so that all the grounds become wet and then rapidly so that they get mixed up more.  If I don't wet all the grounds then some of them tend to stay floating on the surface.

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