Tag Archives: Rubber Duck

133 Days Until The Blackburn Challenge

Joey’s Christmas present was the deluxe GMG baseball cap. When he gave it to me he said, “I want to see you wear it in this year’s Blackburn Challenge.”

Joey. Mister Motivator. I did that paddle five times around Cape Ann and last year I took it off. So I was thinking instead of the GMG baseball cap I would wear a buttermilk pancake instead.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

But I changed my mind. Why putter around the Cape in a motor boat when you can do it with a paddle? As of last week I am sixty years old. I already checked and there are no age brackets in the Blackburn. Not that I would have come close to even sniffing a ribbon since most of the leather and sinew paddlers in my kayak class are older than me and the last I see of them is around the Annisquam Lighthouse.

So it’s on. I have 133 days to fit into my kayak. Saturday July 25, 2015. Here is a map. Here is a timer. Here is a link to the details of the Cape Ann Rowing Club who do an awesome job on the race with food and beer at the greasy pole finish.  And the warmup is the Essex River race on May 16, 2015.

May 16. 64 days away. I’ll do that too or I’ll eat my pancake.

I'll go faster with a new hat.

I’ll go faster with a new hat.

Oracle Rubber Duck Says: Winter of Our Discontent is Over!

It’s March! What’s so awesome about March Rubber Duck? It’s followed by April! And April is when we start making “Seasonal Openings 2015!” From Top Dog usually the last day of March to The Rudder right around Tax Day with Lobsta Land, Capt Carlos, Dairy Train, sprinkled in between. What tastes like spring more than a Fish and Cheese sandwich at The Cupboard? And the snow will melt soon! Look at WeatherSpark for next week:

This next week spends most of the time above that nasty freezing line.

This next week spends most of the time above that nasty freezing line.

So here is my lineup starting today for things to do to get you in the mood.
Friday March 6: Stones Pub for a Blue Duck Spring Burger. (Blue Cheese Portabella mushrooms, bacon, hold the sprouts between your knees.
Saturday March 7: Wash the car at Maplewood Carwash. It’s not for the car, it’s for you. You will feel better! Drive home slowly. Do not splash.
Saturday March 7: There is something else big today, what is it?
Sunday March 8: Spring Forward! That’s right, drive home from work and the sun is still shining!
Monday March 9: Big Apple announcement. Buy a watch? A retina MacBook Air?
Tuesday March 10: If you are going to grow tomatoes from seeds, sow them now!
Wed March 11: Run around in shorts! It’s 44 degrees out! After this winter that will feel like 85!

Thurs March 12: Have you ever seen Uranus? I have never seen Uranus! But you can this week. As Mars and Venus set in the evening if you scope them out with binoculars they will be very easy to find. Venus is wicked bright. Very close by will be an unblinking tiny blue dot. That is Uranus! Now you can say Rubber Duck showed you Uranus!

Saturday March 14: Pi Day! Biggest Pi Day ever because it is 2015 which means 3/14/15 9:26AM and 53 seconds all nerds head’s will explode with nerdiness!
Sunday March 15: Ides of March: Greg Bover posts an awesome quote from Caesar or Brutus et tu?
Tuesday March 17: Saint Patrick’s Day! Plant your peas! Still two feet of snow in your garden? Start digging. You have to plant them on Saint Patty’s Day or the world will end.
Wednesday March 18: EJ and Brenda Malloy and Jeff Amero and everyone else who has been rubbing it in on Facebook that they are in Florida will be dragging their sun tanned butts back to Cape Ann!
Tuesday March 31: Get your boat in the water by today and you win a prize!

Friday, March 20: at 6:45 PM EDT First Day of Spring, Equinox, equal day, equal night!

Wednesday April 1: Seasonal Openings really get underway. You can make it. Meet me at the Rudder or The Studio, who is going to open first?

Then this happens Sunday April 5th

Then this happens Sunday April 5th

Fun Packed Weekend with Rubber Duck

First a shout out to Maplewood Car Wash. Rubber Duck says there is nothing that makes the day just a little bit sunnier than driving around in a shiny vehicle. And you may ask, “Paul, is that an environmentally sound decision to drive a half ton Pick Up Truck?” and my reply is I rescued close to 5,000 pounds of over 16 year old iron so I put the “Reuse and Recycle” into my tree hugging thank you very much.

You look like ants from here.

You look like ants from here. I just got the #2 at Maplewood!

Then I shovel the front porch so maybe I can get my girl scout cookies delivered. They were unwilling to throw the boxes over the snow drift. And shovel out the oil tank intake but I look at the propane tank (or rather do not look since it is invisible under a fifteen foot drift) and think, “screw that.”

But my first “honey do” Sunday morning is something is wrong with the hot water. Wrong as in, not very hot. Shoot, out of propane? But the stove fires up. I look at water heater. My analytical mind quickly narrows down problem to the exhaust fan is not making the correct noise. The centrifugal fan is usually making a “WEEEEE” noise only it is making a lowercase “ummm” noise. six screws later I find my problem.

I placed mouse on top of blades for illustration only. She was really wedged in there.

I placed mouse on top of blades for illustration only. She was really wedged in there.

A mouse! How did she get there? As I was shoveling the bulkhead doors to cellar just yesterday I was looking a the exhaust port and marveling at the nice job of installation because they put wire mesh in the opening. But inside there is a cooling port for the fan motor that looks like this.

Three openings that a cold mouse seeking warmth would love to check out then take a ride on the ferris wheel of death.

Three openings that a cold mouse seeking warmth would love to check out then take a ride on the Ferris Wheel of Doom.

A few minutes sticking needles in it and if Mister Mouse can get past this he might be small enough to take a ride and get the full Space Mountain E ticket.

But Uncle Mickey went in here! Anyone seen Uncle Mickey?

But Uncle Mickey went in here! Anyone seen Uncle Mickey?

Why Mickey, why? Long story but it is because I did not follow Bill Rowell’s suggestion (Burrhead Oil Rockport) and wrap some insulation on my exposed oil line and it got sluggish and my furnace died and my house was wicked chilly when we got here on Friday and the mouse needed to find a warm place. Speaking of Burrhead, have you ever said, “You gotta start charging me for these emergency visits Bill”. All he did was teach me how to prime and jump start my furnace myself. Bill also cracks me up with his growing up in Rockport stories but I will stop there before we both get into trouble.

Homemade Bratwurst on my Ice Dams!

This does not look good.

This does not look good.

After the relentless Snowzilla #1 through #4 even a well insulated house is going to have an ice dam. Ice freezes along the roof line and now any water percolating under the snow gets trapped and backs up under the shingles into your house leaking into that lovely ceiling fan. Turning the fan on high is a fun way to humidify your house but eventually you will burn your house down with an electrical short.

Solution: Roof Sausage and we’re not talking Ambie’s. My favorite looks like Karl’s Sausage Kitchen bratwurst. Take a spare pair of pantyhose and cut the leg off. Fill the leg with calcium chloride (that is the Snow Melt you are throwing on the walkway). If your ice dam is up high, tie a line to the end and toss it up there so it crosses the ice dam.

This is making me hungry.

This is making me hungry.

Done! Like a little beaver’s nightmare that sausage will cut across the ice dam and make a path for the water to drain.

Because we live on Cape Ann you know that one of these storms will eventually arrive and dump four inches of rain and you really don’t want the inside of your house to look like a tropical rain forest.

Rubber Duck Pro Tip: You can buy “roof pucks” to do this but stuffing socks and pantyhose is so much more fun. Go buy the big 50 lb bag of rock salt at Ace or Building Center then pour it into that 5 gallon bucket you have kicking around. Drop a mason jar on top and stick it on your front porch. Now you can fill a sock and toss or sprinkle some on that icy walkway. When you fill the bucket from a 50 lb bag, about two shovel fulls will not fit. Just catapult that up on your roof.

The wrong way: Do not use organic, non-gluten, non-GMO, non-fluoride Kosher Pink Gourmet Himalayan rock salt. Well, you can but only buy Rubber Duck brand, $35 a pound with 81 essential minerals. Call now. Also, send in your roof sausage photos to Joey. Extra points if you tie a Rubber Duck on the sausage.

One Last Snow Photo

Photo out my window. There are three cars out there but I can only spot one car antenna. Must be the truck.

Photo out my window. There are three cars out there but I can only spot one car antenna. Must be the truck.

OK, one more, and yes I know about ice dams. Maybe I can sneak my hand out there and turn the grill on high. That might do it.

OK, one more, and yes I know about ice dams. Maybe I can sneak my hand out there and turn the grill on high. That might do it.

Before you know it the planet wobbles the other way and it is 4th of July in Rockport and Rubber Duck is getting soft in the heat from the leftover bonfire.

Before you know it the planet wobbles the other way and it is 4th of July in Rockport and Rubber Duck is getting soft in the heat from the leftover bonfire.

Rubber Duck WTF #37

Since no one got #36 name the humpback (the answer was Music go check it out) #37 is going to be even harder but the prizes keep piling up.

First three winners get a GMG sticker signed by RD and one pirate Rubber Duck. First prize gets choice of Zombie Rubber Duck or Pirate.

To win the responder must say exactly where this is not just how/what and or why. Be precise. Precision wins.

WHAT!

Where is this? Not the image, where is the actual photo residing. If you get out in Cape Ann over the last two months you should know.

Crap: I just realized that if you follow me in Facebook you might be able to figure this out without actually having been there.

[edit Oct 12, 9:38AM] We have a winner! Anonymous correctly named the location. The fresnel lens as big as an outhouse is right behind me. Anonymous can come down to the dock to pick up her winnings. Proper ID required.

fullmontybunny

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Wednesday Lunar Eclipse at Dawn Once in a Lifetime!

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, when the sun rises in the east the full moon will be setting in the west. But this time a full lunar eclipse will be taking place.

The countdown:

5:18 AM eclipse starts (moon starts getting red)

6:27 AM total eclipse (moon is red!)

6:47 AM maximum eclipse in Gloucester

Sunrise is at 6:47 AM and the moon sets at :6:52 AM  So you can see there is a pile up with the sun rising, the moon setting and the moon is epic total all at the same time!

So if you are out at the Eastern Point lighthouse before 6:30 AM you can set up to watch the lunar eclipse set over the western harbor while the sun rises behind you in the east behind the lighthouse.

Except it is going to be raining at dawn with a 17 mph wind out of the south making it no so much fun out there. But what if the clouds part?

easternpoint100714

That yellow line points to where the sun will be coming up and the dark blue line points to where the moon is setting.

Because the blood red eclipse will be on the horizon the moon will look about as gargantuan as a giant Rubber Duck sitting in Gloucester Harbor. Except we won’t see a thing because it will be raining.

Is There A Solution?

mug up and RD hostage taking end

Come to Mup Up on Saturday at 9:30 at YUPO Gallery and Khan Studio & the GMG Gallery, 77 Rocky Neck Ave. to witness the solution to the Rubber Duck Hostage taking drama. The hostage takers have promised to return RD to Paul this weekend – let’s see if they are good to their word. Always fun, always good coffee, food, GMG peeps, fobs and passersby that we drag in to join us. The end is very near.

Rubber Duck Tech Tip: RD wants the iPhone 6Plus

fullbirdseye88

Apple iPhone 5s. High noon light, rocking platform. Shot was “normal”, not HD.

Shot this Saturday waiting for the Cut Bridge to go up (high tide) after Mug Up trying to get a duck and the Birdseye Plant being taken apart in the background (They are working Saturdays.)

Non-descript photo, a snapshot, no real subject, point and shoot. But considering the conditions, it captures some detail. There was a lot of light but the boat was rocking. So the iPhone 5s shuts the aperture down to get a long depth of field but it should be muddy in the resolution and indeed it is a bit. We zoom in:

fullbirdseye888

The rod holder probably got the center of the depth of field but because the aperture is shut down to a F22 pinhole (guessing) the focus stretches from the duck butt to the paint factory. The software digital stabilization gives the Birdseye Plant some muddy painterly effects (the shot is right out of camera unprocessed) but still shows some detail of the demolition of frozen food history.

So what does this have to do with the new Apple iPhone 6Plus? The 6 Plus is going to make this shot better. The six Plus has optical image stabilization. (The iPhone 6 does not, it sticks with software fake focusing.) What is the difference? A lot. When I snap that photo two weeks from now there will be micromotors moving the lens around to lock on the Birdseye Plant while the lens is open. So if you are shooting from a rocking boat it still comes out clean.

But wait, there’s more. Something called pixel focus. Remember when you had that five pound Nikon DSLR and you manually focused the lens and you tried to get that little split image in the center to line up? 20 years ago but they looked like pixels which suddenly cleared when you focused on your subject? That (sort of) is pixel focus. There will be designated pixels across the field that need to match up, and when they do the lens is focused on that subject. When you tap the screen with your finger to light balance on the birdseye plant you are also selecting it as your primary focus (thank you Adam Bolonsky for pointing that out). Pixels in the birdseye plant will be used to “pixel focus”.

But you don’t need to know any of this. What it means is that iPhone 6Plus shots will be cleaner, sharper right out of the camera so you can fill your Facebook feed with more selfies than ever. The focus will be on your subject the entire time in a movie so your cat gifs you upload on #Caturday in G+ will be even more sickeningly cute.

The take home message: Tech marches on led by Apple. That used to be cool point and shoot digital camera you have covered with dust in the drawer next to your film cameras? Get ready for some company. High end point and shoots are history and this phone is going to start nibbling into the professional camera category. OK, you filmsters who said nothing will kill film quiet down. The three to seven thousand dollar DSLRs have plenty of life left. But everything underneath those price points I would worry if I was making a living selling them. People want to take snaps. More snaps on iPhones this year than all photos combined. Compact cameras will go the way of compact video will go the way of the Dodo bird. Because you use what you have. Since you have to have a phone in your pocket to check facebook and text you are going to shoot with your smart phone. Everything else is a slide ruler. Neat to own, but gathering dust in that drawer.

When and what to buy: The new Apple phones are the 6 and the 6Plus. I just described a few advantages of the six Plus. The six Plus also has 37% more screen, more pixels, and also better battery life than the 6. But I am still going to wait until next Friday, September 19 so I can touch them before deciding in the Boylston Street Apple Store. Everything points to the six Plus. For a hundred bucks more you get a ton more features. The battery and the camera are the deal maker. The downside is that the thing is an air craft carrier, a cross between a phone and a tablet. A “Phablet”. An awful portmanteau. I don’t want a phablet in my front pocket. “Is that a phablet in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” Bend over and start singing falsetto. But I will likely go big. I was poking fun at Toby’s Androidy Phablet just a few weeks ago. (Can you land jet planes on that?) I will live through his eyebrows raising when I pull out my Fabulous Phablet. Or my Fab Fablet out of my Euro man purse.

if you read this far …

Disclosure: I have been an Apple fan, Apple Fan Boy, member of the Apple Sheeple flock, ever since I used a Macintosh 512 to make graphs in a paper published in 1985. I find Apple is like real Science, it just works and makes my life simpler. I am biased towards simpler. Sue me.

Unnecessary detail: the Info on the shot says F2.2 ISO 40. So instead of shutting the aperture down the camera digitally selects “slower” film to capture more detail. I’m not going back to change the verbiage just to make film school graduates happy who want to argue about the size of silver halide crystals.

info888

Rubber Duck still remains hostage

mug up rd ransom continues

It was a lovely but tense Mug Up this morning at YUPO Gallery. Paul Morrison arrived promptly with a bag filled with ransom demand fulfillment. Joey arrived late with Rubber Duck, but refused to release her to Paul, only allowing him a brief viewing of her to prove that she was unharmed (it was not Paul’s RD that had been crushed in the GE press after all). Joey told Paul that he needed to return to Mug Up next Saturday at 9:30am with more ranson, and he would come back again with Rubber Duck and the two “Kind” ducknappers, who would decide then if his ransom was sufficient to warrant RD’s release. This is dragging out much longer than any of us anticipated, and Paul was showing pronounced signs of tension and anxiety. We all pray he can hold out until next Saturday and that this ordeal will reach a satisfactory conclusion. Joey does seem to be enjoying making Paul squirm after all the times Paul has attempted to have RD usurp Homie’s rightful place as mascot of GMG. Karma can be tough.

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