Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nicknames are funny things

Nicknames are funny things, ever wondered where I got mine?
Not ‘Kymbo”…the other one!
I’ll tell you, but only if you don’t tell anyone…

Two years ago I spent two full months building a sea going fishing boat, 45 feet long and splendid to they call me “Kymbo the boat builder”?...they do not!

Last year I spend a month building a full bodied truck from the chassis up. Tray, boxes, tanks and all the extras, all hand made. Even other steelworkers marvelled at my craftsmanship…do they call me “Kymbo the truck builder”?…the hell they do!

Right now I have a half million-dollar fire engine in my workshop having a ground up restoration, do they call me “Kymbo the restorer”?…not a chance!

But you shag just one sheep……


Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Worry. Part2

I was only just getting the hang of the Boom swinging bit when it struck me. Not some brilliant idea…the Boom!
As I ducked my head I hit Buckys back and I couldn’t duck any lower, I struggled to move aside but the Boom hit me on the side of the head and I was knocked out of the boat in one swift move. I was stunned for a moment, the boat continued forward and I missed the outstretched hands offered by my crew mates but managed to grab the rope thrown me. I managed a wrap of my hand before the rope took up and I was jerked up to speed.

I had the absurd notion that my crew mates would haul me aboard, or turn the boat to come back for me, but NO! When you’ve finally got the boat in the right position and the wind is just right for a long tack back against the wind and safely into port, crewmembers are apparently expendable.
We were out nearly a kilometer, facing straight across the harbor and moving at good speed when I received the news to hold on and enjoy the ride as they would drag me behind the yacht toward the distant dry land.
I went along face down for a while but found I kept getting my eyes full of water so I rolled onto my back, we gained speed and I started skimming over the surface.
I looked right and left, the water was so deep it was black, I started to think about the sharks that were bound to be in the area… the ones, probably right now following along behind me. I had no choice but to suppress such thoughts, and try to enjoy being towed about like so much shark bait.
After the long and thankfully eventless tow into port we came to a stop literally just a few metres from the Bow of a huge freighter ship. Looking up, the hull curved away over my head for tens of metres… It looked like a mountain to me treading water beneath it’s shadow. Beside me was the tangle of huge timbers that made up the docks, looking like a fallen forest, thick weed and all kinds of creatures hung from the timbers and disappeared into the blackness of their depths. Looking below the water however brought a shiver to my spine, I could only see down a few metres before the twisting blackness of it’s depth crowded out the blue.
Quickly I was snapped back to reality as the yacht had turned and the rope took up again, I felt thankful as I was drawn away from the ship, out over the blackness again but closer to the land a few hundred metres away on the other side. Again my mind was filled with black thoughts of the things I could not see beneath me. I had to force myself to look anywhere but down into the blackness, every second felt like my last.
We cruised across the harbor in just a few minutes, the boat stopped to flip the sail around, again I had to tread water for the few moments that took, as I did so something touched my foot…the good hard bump of something solid.
I tried hard to withdraw my legs into my body, but found they just wouldnt withdraw enough... of course had no choice but to continue to swim or drown; about now drowning was looking the better of the possibilities ahead of me.
I lowered my legs again and again there was a solid bump, I put my head under the water and looked down fully expecting to see a shark basting my legs in lemon juice.
It was land… sweet wonderful land, the edge of the shipping channel and just five feet deep, without a second thought I tossed the rope aside and started walking the hundred metres to shore. I’d only gone a few metres when Bucky saw me leaving, realized he to had the choice to either go back across the harbor or walk ashore with me.
He stood and dived overboard covering ten metres or so underwater and coming up quite near me. We walked ashore to the strains of my brother complaining that he couldn’t sail the yacht alone...we didn’t care!
We got to the breakwall in quick time and scrambled up the rocky embankment…I didn’t feel safe until I stood erect at the top.
My brother made one more pass of the harbor and on the way back he hit a moored motorboat and flipped the yacht again, as he struggled to right it he called to say we should swim out and help him: there was no way I was going to do that.
In the time it took to right the yacht the wind blew him seaward another hundred metres and so he had to make one last crossing before he came close enough to throw us a rope, we towed him in and along the pontoons to the ramp.
It was a quiet trip home!

We all learned things that day…
And I’m quite sure we all remember it very differently.
My brother went on as usual, apparently unknowing and uncaring at the terrible mental damage he had done to us.
Bucky went on to own many boats including several sail boats and is apparently a very good sailor these days.
… and I learned that there was nothing on this earth,… nothing at all, that could not be improved by the addition of a big growling motor. To that end I’ve owned three motor boats but I’ve never sailed since that day…. scarred I am, scarred I tells you!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why Worry

The place where I grew up has a deep water port; it also has a healthy population of sharks including Great White Sharks… big sharks! It has so many big sharks that many background scenes for ‘Jaws’ were filmed here. (yes really)
There has never been a person confirmed as taken by sharks in our waters, though there have been more than a few people disappear without trace…presumed drowned! (yeah Right!)

A lifetime ago when I was a teen, my brother was one of the youngest people to ever sail the local blue water sailing races, he fancied himself as a very good sailor… and probably was!
I had no interest whatsoever in sailing, I spent a lot of time snorkeling with my best mate Bucky . Of course we fished, both from land and in Buckys parents fishing boat, we waded the shallows for Blue Crab, and searched for the pretty Blue ringed Octopus among the rocks, but sailing had never been an option.
One day, bumming around the house during school holidays we got our chance…

My brother had access to a new racing yacht but needed crew. I didn’t really want to go but Bucky was keen and so it was decided that we would crew this small racing yacht.
My brother was adamant that it would be really easy, we were just ballast you see, and sailing would be even better if we moved from one side of the boat to the other from time to time, that’s all we had to do…easy!
There was no mention of capsize, there was no mention of changing sail or swinging the boom. Funny enough, he even forgot to mention that it would be necessary to re-float the boat from time to time.
The first thing that I noticed was the name of the boat… ‘Why Worry’
The next unsettling thing was the proper fitting of life preservers, not the usual chuck it on and go; but the correct weight and strap settings…like your life depended on it!
The disconcertingly small yacht was usually manned by 4 blokes who all knew how to sail, and were trained and practiced to man these twitchy little racers, this time it had one sailor and two complete novices aboard.
It was scary how much rope there was on this tiny plywood coffin, hanging from every corner there were ropes everywhere forming a spider web above and around us. The hull was so thin you couldn’t stand in it on land, and even in the water the thin plywood hull moved and buckled under foot. Most alarmingly, there were actual holes in the bottom of the boat… “To let the water out”, I was told. All I could think was, “Why would there be water in the boat?”
It took ages to set the mast and ropes, centre board and steering thingy, but when we left the boat ramp things began to move fast. The boat felt like a wind blown twig on the surface of the water, skittering across the surface like a leaf in a gale.
Commands were shouted as if we knew what they meant, the boat turned sharply and Bucky and I nearly lost our heads as the boom swung across the deck like the Reapers scythe. I don’t remember if either of us got hit that first time, but we sure got hit many times that day. We carried bruises and bumps for weeks afterward…
The boat turned to face the open sea with the wind at our backs and we powered up to speed…WOW, this thing moved fast, the water sizzled under the boat, crackling like I’d never heard before. With no motor and the silence of the wind, the water was the only thing you could hear… apart from our heart beats.
The water under us was deep, the shipping channel came right in and past the launch ramp we had left just moments earlier, and this area was well known to be a regular haunt of some very big Great Whites. They were seen daily lounging in the harbor by dock workers, and the stories about the size of these giants were common knowledge.
Ripping along at great speed and having covered quite some distance we apparently did something wrong, Bucky and I didn’t follow some rule we’d never even heard before and in the blink of an eye we were all in the water with the boat on top of us.
This was before JAWS the movie...but you will remember the scene where the little yachts were all capsized and the shark was circling them? Yeah, just like that…

It was bad enough for me, tangled in ropes and several metres under water, I freed myself and easily swum to the surface a few metres from the up-turned hull.
Bucky though, came up under the sail and there he was trapped; I could see him struggling as he swam along under the sail trying to get out. Eventually he did, about 2/3 along the gigantic plastic banner he popped out and took a huge breath, he looked as freaked out as I was. He later told me that he thought he was going to drown there and then.

It was only now that we learned about the boat righting bit, how we had to swim around to the bottom of the boat and stand on the bit that should be under water to swing the boat upright again…Oh, and try not to let the boat fall on you as it comes over, that can hurt. We turned the sodden hull away from the wind, flicked out the tangled ropes and straightened the sail, my brother yelled , “It’ll go fast!”…. Whatever that meant…and the hull lurched forward dragging us as it took off.
As we scrambled into the completely sunk yacht the sail snapped tight and the water moved aside as we again picked up speed and climbed onto the waters surface, the water inside the boat did indeed pour out of the holes in the hull and in just seconds we were as before.

Sadly, it seemed that every turn was to be a lesson in boat righting, standing on the underwater bits and trying to get in before it left without you. One time the boat went completely downside up, the mast vertical underwater...and still it didn’t touch the bottom.
Truthfully, we spent a few thrilling minutes running before the wind at great speed and what felt like several hours trying to get back to port against the offshore wind. We spent as much time in and under the water as we spent skimming across the surface and the remaining time was spent trying to dodge the Boom so as not to have your brains smashed out. The Boom swung at shoulder height with us sitting on the side of the boat, if you didn’t duck it hit you in the chest flinging you into the brine, if you did duck it either ruffled your hair as it passed overhead or hit you in the head if you didn’t move fast enough.
It began to worry me that we were doing a lot of thrashing around out there, moving a few hundred metres then thrashing around the hull again…
I guess we were halfway back when it happened….

I'll be away for a few days and I'll post part2 when I get back


Sunday, November 7, 2010

The truth about women Part 7

There is one force that affects all women, all of the time.
It is an elemental urge of such magnitude it renders women powerless to resist it’s influence.

Only a foolish man would ignore it’s importance.
Read on only if you are prepared to handle:

The secret of how to understand women is in their:
Shoes. (Tah-Dah...Fanfare, drum roll etc.)

Everything you need to know about a woman is right there on her feet.
For centuries we’ve been trying to solve the riddle, and all the time we were looking at the wrong end of their legs!

Think about this:
Why do they all have a hundred pairs of shoes when they only have two legs?
Because they can have a hundred different moods! (head slap)

Take a look around, look at their footwear, then look at their expression- see what I mean?
Once you learn to recognize the messages she’s transmitting through her footwear, you will have no trouble deciphering what sort of creature she is, and more importantly, what sort of condition she’s in.

Here then is your field guide to Feminine Footwear.
Print it, keep it in your wallet, refer to it constantly.

It could save your life.

Consider then that you are now informed, prepared and ready to make contact with women. The next question is:
What on earth are you going to say to them?
If you want them to listen in amused amazement at your witty wordplay, you are going to have to come up with something better than:
“Nice norks, darling.”

In every survey ever carried out by woman’s magazines, the single characteristic they all claim to long for is:
“The ability to make me laugh.”

There are various problems attached to this seemingly simple requirement:
1: Women lie through their tights in surveys.
2: Laughter can be induced by the wrong things.
If she’s creased up and hooting at the first glimpse of Mr. Wriggly, you’re a dead duck.
3: When women smile at you it’s always best to check that it’s for the right reason. Be sure she’s not playing funny face with the big bloke behind you, has a facial tic, or is simply baring her teeth before biting your face off.

It’s been a while since I’ve been game enough to post one of these…or rather, I've been very busy and it takes ages to write these. (you think women are hard to understand… imagine trying to put it into the written word.. and as for making up these pictures…)


Friday, November 5, 2010

Down on the farm

There was a Texan farmer here in Australia for a vacation. Randy, up and goes to see an Aussie farm.  There he meets Glen, an Aussie farmer and the two farmers get to talking.  With pride the Aussie shows off his big wheat field and the Texan says, 'Oh yeah.  We have wheat fields that are at least twice as large as that.'
Then they walk around the station a little, and Glen shows off his herd of cattle. Randy immediately says, 'We have longhorns that are at least twice as large as your little cows.'
Feeling a little insulted the Aussie farmer takes the Texan to see his best and tallest trees. Walking through the thick forest the Texan looks around a little and states ‘In Texas the trees grow twice as big as these twigs’.
The two wonder on, the conversation has, meanwhile, almost died when the Texan sees a big mob of kangaroos hopping through the field. Taken aback he asks, '...And what are those?'
The Aussie replies with an incredulous look, 'Don't you have any grasshoppers in Texas.'