Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Live bait

I just did a quick check of my blog and I didn't find any mention of fishing. Strange? Maybe I missed it. Well, I will continue with my fishing stories. Or begin. My father fished, ergo I fished. I used to go with him as a youngster of 7 or 8.  My favorite times were when he and I went 'deep sea' fishing. Getting up early and getting dressed quietly with as little light as possible.We didn't want to wake my sisters. Then we would drive to San Pedro and get aboard a 'party boat'. Not that kind of party... it was a party of 25 or 30 fishermen. Dad would carry the tackle box and his pole. We would rent one for me. Once loaded up, the deck hand would cast off and the Captain would pull away from the dock and make his way down the channel to a live bait boat and order enough sardines to put in the live bait well. We had to go past the Copra processing plant where the smell would make you glad that you didn't have breakfast.Iit wasn't long after that, that we were leaving the calm waters of the port and facing the heavy swells of the Pacific. I'm one of those people that never gets seasick, so I was enjoying the ride. Some didn't. These day long 'party boats' would usually find fish in the Catalina channel. It wasn't very deep in lots of places and so the Skipper (Captain) would anchor if he saw any fish on his 'fish finder' screen, or if he heard anything good on the radio between all the other boats out in the in the channel. We would put an anchovy on the hook and let the line out. If they had been catching Halibut, we would let the bait go to the bottom. Otherwise, we would listen to the skipper or deck hand's advise as to how deep we should position our bait. Then, we waited.The boat going up and down. The sun slowly rising. It was beautiful! On some of the party boats there would be a galley where you could order ham & eggs plus toast for breakfast. Some boats sold sandwiches and pastries. With any luck we would be too busy to eat. Busy hooking and fighting fish to the surface. There, the deck hand would gaff the fish and put it into your sack for you.  If there were a lot of fish being caught, he would drop your fish on the deck and move on to another lucky fisherman. All during this time the boat was going up and down (pitching) and often with a yaw, or going up and down with a twist to the right or left. A frequent and combined, plus steep, pitch and yaw would often send people over to the railing where they would lose whatever was in their stomach. As long as you were busy catching fish, the motion of the boat usually wasn't noticeable. When we weren't catching fish, the deck hand would stand atop the live bait tank with a small scoop net and throw anchovy in the sea around us. Chumming, as it's called, is to attract any of the larger game fish such as Tuna, Yellowtail and Albacore. If we were lucky enough to be in the middle of a school of these fish, fishermen would be catching fish right and left and the deckhand would be very, very busy. Sometimes the Skipper would have to climb down from his post at the helm and help him out....

...More about fishing later.

Politics as usual

I just received a Christmas greeting from one of my US Senators. That sparked a thought. (at my age I am happy to get any kind of a spark in my brain) My thought was...why does anyone think that having 2 Senators for states with large populations is fair? Of course it isn't. The Founding Fathers had no idea that the U.S. would end up with more than 350+ million people living in 50 States. I know that I am not adequately represented. This State, California, should have at least 4 Senators and 6 would be fair. Will this idea (it's been brought up before) ever have a chance of being implemented? Of course not! Republicans and the smaller states would bury the thought...

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Ah! Coffee...

What an amazing morning! I had an 8:00 appointment at the DMV and I was home and pouring a coffee by 8:30. Earlier in the year, I had applied for a renewal of my license and I had planned on getting the Federal RealID stamp on it. But, unknown to myself, my birth certificate, the one I had used for years, was no good…it was a copy. It did not have purple ink on the signature of a long dead bureaucrat. But, the exceptional DMV clerk told us how to get the real one and she even gave us an early appointment for today. We filled out all the paperwork needed right then and kept it with us until today. I think it cost us close to $60 to get a new and real, purple ink, birth certificate from Los Angeles County. With that in hand, plus the other completed paperwork, we sailed through the dreaded process. Plus, the earlier clerk gave us a tip and said I should ask for a Senior ID instead of having my drivers license re-issued. The Senior ID will come with the Federal stamp on it, plus it’s free and lasts for 10 years. So, if I give up driving I still have the ID necessary to fly. I can’t imagine wanting to fly again; I did it for too many years and for too many miles, in my previous life. The ‘flying’ was one of the reasons for my taking an early retirement. The ‘Golden Age’ of flying is long gone and only people my age or older can remember it.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Leaves, leaves, leaves and more leaves

The city of Chico is in the leaf removal business. All the homeowner has to do is rake the leaves up and put them in a pile next to the curb. The city comes along with dump truck and a tractor equipped to scoop up the leaves and put them in the truck. Once filled, the truck then goes to the site where they make compost of it all. This year it seems as if the leaves are overpowering the collectors. They even have a 2 block long space on a nearby road, dedicated to the dumping of leaves. This space is used by the commercial 'mow and blow' people and they fill it up every 2 days. Everywhere I go in the city, the leaves are piled high. We have a landscaper that comes by twice a year; fall & winter, to collect leaves and cleanup, then in February he will prune all the trees and shrubs. He left us yesterday with his trailer piled high with our leaves. And our trees, the neighbors trees and ? any other trees are still dropping leaves. It never ends...


I would like to be positive. Really, I would like to be.  But it is proving to be  difficult, as all of the news I get from my doctors is negative and my body just keeps falling apart. That wonderful life I enjoyed while working in construction keeps coming back to bite me. I know I've said it before, but I worked in the drywall & steel stud trade. I worked almost exclusively in commercial work, such as hospitals, office buildings and high rise buildings. Of course, I smoked. I had been since I was 17. I joined the Navy when I was 19, and smoking with a cup of coffee in hand is an old Navy tradition. Well, the coffee is for sure. I quit smoking about 40 years ago, but some damage was already done. The commercial work did even more damage to my lungs. Now I have COPD and I'm enrolled in a Pulmonary Rehab program at the local hospital. 3 times a week I can be found doing exercises with a small group of others with COPD or worse lung problems. We also do balance exercises, such as standing for 30 seconds with your feet heel to toe. I have to be next to something solid that I can hold onto while we do this. I try not to hold on, but after 10, 15 seconds I have to grab it. And I can only think of what I used to do, up high on a building, walking across narrow beams or standing on the edge of the building while holding a panel as the crane operator slowly swung it towards you while the wind tried to take it away.  I would have died if I had the sense of balance I have now. Now, in the exercise room, with both feet solidly on the carpet, I am probably the only one there that sees the ground, 100' below him.
On a different subject; I am spending most days collecting and filing old photo files of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. That includes the Los Angeles Aqueduct project, all the way up to the Mono Basin and Mono Lake. I probably have over 6,000 images filed away and I continue to find more of them. I know that sounds like OCS, but, it's actually autism. I found a website, Water and Power Associates, and they have thousands of images. And they have little nuggets of history along with the photos. But, there is a problem with all of this. My expensive (at the time) MacBook Pro is failing; and I have most of my photos on it. First, the Photos program stopped working altogether. Oh no! I researched on-line for a cure, for days without success. Then, I tried a simple hint and rebooted into Safe mode, opened Photos, closed it and then rebooted. Photos came back! Great news but a week later I lost all of my keyboard shortcuts, such as Cmd-C for Copy and Cmd -V for paste.

Plus all of the rest. I tried rebooting again. It worked...for about 2 weeks.Reboot again and this time it was cured for about a week. Now, it only works for a day or two. The Photos program is shaky but it is working 90% of the time. In the meantime, I am trying to move all of the rest of my photo files (36,000) to a stand alone hard drive with 4 TB of space. I would move them onto a new MacBook Pro, but the price is prohibitive. The same computer is now $500 more than what I paid, 5 years ago.

Here on the right is a 1910 photo of the steam pump belonging to Los Angeles Fire Dept. Engine Company #9 as it is pulled out of the fire house by 3 sturdy fire horses. I love these old photos, and I am sad that I never took very many photos of where I was working during my 48 year career. I have a blog "Working" and I have hopes that my children & grandchildren will read it someday. While I was working, I never seemed to have time to talk to my children about all of the things I did. They knew what I did, in a vague sort of way. my middle daughter worked for me as a secretary during the big Sierra Pacific Power Co, job. But most of the time she was stuck in our jobsite trailer, filing correspondence. My son worked for a fastener sales company, where for a year or so he sold screws, shots and pins for powder actuated fasteners, plus an assortment of safety equipment. Again, his exposure to my kind of work was limited. My blog isn't complete, but it is a good description of what I did for a living. I know I would have loved to know what my mom and dad did, before and after I was born in 1940. And my grandparents; I only know the titles for the work they did. One grandfather was a 'Timber Cruiser' in Minnesota and later, a farmer in Oregon. My other grandfather worked for a finance company, GM Acceptance Corp. I have the gold watch he received. But I would rather have his story...