Wine and Wood

Slow but steady progress on canoe building. Saturday I got the strongback out and leveled. After two trips to Home Depot, I got the bow and stern stem molds cut and the holes drilled for clamps to hold the stem pieces. I got the bow and stern stems bent and clamped on—I had to re-purpose my hot water kettle to fashion a steam bending device, but it worked perfectly. I got all the station mold blocks in place.

Next I got the stem molds on the strong back, which was a pain, and then the topline, also a pain since I do no have a router and had to fashion a new approach. Middle boards are ~1/4” off in center against the strongboard, but I centered the mold over the topline and in theory, that should be fine.

I let the stems dry for two days and then yesterday I glued the bow stems on and today the aft. I did not have enough clamps to do both at the same time. So today, while the aft stems were drying, I started shaving the bow stem to the angles I needed for the upper planks. Slow, delicate work but seemed to be okay. Not as pretty as the books, but the angles seem to be right and they will not be visible.

Tomorrow I need to check all station molds one last time and get them all 100% vertically plumb. Then I will lay out all the planks, remove the aft stem and shave it to the correct angles and will be ready to start planking.

Today was warm but rainy. Yesterday was amazing—sunny and beautiful. I took my usual walk in the early morning, but met a friend for another walk at 5:00. We kept our distance of course.

Yesterday I finished reading ‘The Scientist and The Spy’ by Mara Hvistendahl. Interesting story about a few Chinese scientist who tried to steal some genetically modified corn seeds from Monsanto and Pioneer so they could steal the genetics and IP. They did this merely by going through Iowa cornfields and picking up loose ears and sending the kernels back to a lab China. After a multi-million dollar investigation by the FBI, they managed to put one dude in jail for 3 years. And in that time, both Monsanto and Pioneer were sold to overseas companies. So, the irony is that tax dollars are being thrown away 19-to-the-dozen to protect IP for private companies with alarming inefficiency. And by the time it wrapped up, they were not even protecting the interests of US companies. Why this wasn’t a civil case, who knows. Anyway. Decent read. More BS about US spy and justice agencies seeing villains in the shadows.

I started reading ‘Voices From the Grave’ by Ed Moloney. Another book about the troubles in Northern Ireland in the 70’s and 80’s which l learned about while reading ‘Say Nothing‘. That is my evening book, which I read just before bed and goes very slowly as I normally only last about 15 or 20 minutes before falling asleep. For my regular book, morning and whenever I get a few minutes reading, I started ‘The Journey of Crazy Horse’ by Joseph M. Marshall III.

I sometimes struggle with books that are too graphically violent in depicting the suffering of vulnerable people. So will see how this goes. I’ve tried reading ‘Trail of Tears’ twice and just can’t get through it. The sadness is crazy. Our white ancestors were fucking hard-core genocidal maniacs. They should teach that book in US History courses instead of the watered down bullshit we do teach.

Quarantine continues on. Family seems to be holding together pretty well.

I received a verbal offer for a new contract here in Cleveland. So that is great news. Hopefully get the contract wrapped up this week. Brookfield Properties; seems like a good gig.

I had to go for food at Whole Foods yesterday. For some peculiar reason, I kept finding wines that I served at Senang all those years ago. Good wines—so I snapped some up.

The Villa Antinori is a pretty good Tuscan. Not really great, but I met the vintner and it has some emotional appeal to me. I have never had a bad wine from Coonawarra region of Australia and so grabbed that Criterion. These are big, bold, dense reds and always terrific. I am surprised we don’t see more from that region here. The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier is a nice, well-balance white. More flavor and depth than the Sauvignon Blanc, but still crisp. Great with fish and pasta. Beringer Knights Valley Cab is more than any other wine, what turned me to a wine drinker. I was waiting tables and had a taste and loved it. Back then, I could get a bottle at The Grapevine In Pocatello for $9 or so. Now it runs around $28 retail. But still a terrific wine and obviously one that I have a history with. The other two just seemed interesting.

A few observations about the current situation. So years from now, we can look back and remember. Assuming of course that this is not the end of times.

– Gas prices $1.35
– Schools are all being taught on-line
– This is week 3 of state of Ohio lockdown.
– Self-distancing measures on the rise
– Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other.
– Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
– Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed
– Many Parks and trails are closed
– All sports seasons are cancelled
– Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled
– Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled
– Churches are closed.
– No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 10 or less
– Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home
– Children’s outdoor play parks are closed
– We are to distance from each other
– Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
– Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
– Panic buying all over—shortages and outages in toilet paper, disinfecting supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, and lots of other item; many shelves are bare.
– Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
– Government closed the border to all non-essential travel
– Fines are established for breaking the rules in some places
– In some cases, hotels and large facilities are converted overflow of Covid-19 patients.
– Press conferences daily from the the stupid president. Daily updates on new cases, recoveries, and deaths.
– $2T recovery package was passed the congress is already working on another one
– In the past two weeks, unemployment claims were 3.7M and 6.3M. The previous record in a week was 800,000 and now over 10M in two weeks
– People are wearing masks and gloves outside when they leave the hous
– Essential service workers are afraid to go to work
– Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families after their shirts—some are staying in alternate locations


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